Ardea
Official journal of the Netherlands Ornithologists' Union

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Roshier D.A., Klomp N.I. & Asmus M. (2006) Movements of a nomadic waterfowl, Grey Teal Anas gracilis, across inland Australia results from satellite telemetry spanning fifteen months. ARDEA 94 (3): 461-475
We used lightweight satellite transmitters to follow the movements of 17 Grey Teal Anas gracilis between September 2003 and November 2004 in two contrasting landscapes, the agricultural districts of southern Australia and the desert landscapes of the interior. Tagged birds moved large distances (up to 343 km) between occupied sites in a short period (hours), remained in the vicinity of those sites for extended periods (months), ventured up to 453 km from their point of release and travelled more than 2000 km in one year. We describe patterns of movement in a nomadic waterfowl for 15 months from September 2003, a period of severe drought. Based on the current analysis there appears to be no remarkable difference in the observed patterns of movement of those released in the agricultural landscapes and those released in the desert. As in waterfowl elsewhere, movements appear to occur in response to changes in local food abundance that threaten survival or the imperative to move in order to breed successfully. In Grey Teal, the proximate cues for movement transcend the local landscape and some birds are responding to temporary cues hundreds of kilometres distant. This is in contrast to the universal seasonal cues associated with migration systems elsewhere.


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