Original Articles


Published in: Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology
Volume 47, issue 4, 1976, pages: 191–213
DOI: 10.1080/00306525.1976.9639558
Author(s): C., C. H. Elliott, South Africa, M. Waltner, S.A, L.G. UnderhillDept. of Mathematical Statistics,, J.S. PringleDept. of Physics,, W., J. A. Dick, England


Elliot, C: C. H., Waltner, M., Underhill. L. G., Pringle, J. S. & Dick, W. J. A. 1976. The migration system of the Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea in Africa. Ostrich 47:191-213. Data on ringing and recoveries of Curlew Sandpiper, mainly from the Cape, South Africa are presented. Possible migration routes to the breeding grounds are considered in the light of these and other recoveries from the rest of Africa. Retraps show that the species exhibits ortstreue and some evidence is presented which suggests that some birds may travel together and stay in the south in the same flock during one and subsequent migrations. Sex ratio statistics show an excess of females. Adults complete a full primary moult in the Cape between September and February, taking about 140 days but there is a lot of individual variation. Data from Mauritania show primary moult starting faster, a month earlier than in the Cape, and arrested moult in a few adults. The difference may be because Mauritanian birds move on further south while the Cape is the end point of the migration. Kenyan moult records from the Rift Valley follow the Cape pattern except that some birds arrest moult and finish later. Juvenile moult is shown to be different from that of adults, involving only a moult of the outer primaries and taking place during the overwintering period, April to August. All juveniles in the Cape are thought to overwinter and the modified moult to be an adaptation to this behaviour. The weight of adults but not juveniles increases markedly in the six weeks before migration. Fat and protein analyses suggest that the increase is entirely due to deposition of migratory fat. Kenyan birds have lower mean weights and deposit fat about two weeks later than those at the Cape. The nearer the non-breeding quarters are to the breeding grounds, the earlier moult starts and the later fat deposition takes place.

Get new issue alerts for Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology