Spring migration phenology is shifting towards earlier dates as a response to climate change in many bird species. However, the patterns of change might not be the same for all species, populations, sex and age classes. In particular, patterns of change could differ between species with different ecology. We analyzed 18 years of standardized bird capture data at a spring stopover site on the island of Ponza, Italy, to determine species-specific rates of phenological change for 30 species following the crossing of the Mediterranean Sea. The advancement of spring passage was more pronounced in species wintering in Northern Africa (i.e. short-distance migrants) and in the Sahel zone. Only males from species wintering further South in the forests of central Africa advanced their passage, with no effect on the overall peak date of passage of the species. The migration window on Ponza broadened in many species, suggesting that early migrants within a species are advancing their migration more than late migrants. These data suggest that the cues available to the birds to adjust departure might be changing at different rates depending on wintering location and habitat, or that early migrants of different species might be responding differently to changing conditions along the route. However, more data on departure time from the wintering areas are required to understand the mechanisms underlying such phenological changes.
Africa Animal Migrationphysiology Animals Birdsphysiology Climate Change Female Italy Male Mediterranean Sea Seasons Spatio-Temporal Analysis Species Specificity