Skip to main content
The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Transoceanic migration by a 12 g songbird

Authors:

William Deluca

B. Woodworth

C. Rimmer

P. Marra

P. Taylor

K. McFarland

S. Mackenzie

D. Norris

Publication Type:
Journal Article
Year of Publication:
2015
Secondary Title:
Biology Letters
ISSN:
0008-4301
DOI:
10.1098/rsbl.2014.1045
Pages:
20141045-20141045
Volume:
112768806641346487771063233858319787712638
Year:
2015
Date:
04/2015

Abstract

Many fundamental aspects of migration remain a mystery, largely due to our inability to follow small animals over vast spatial areas. For more than 50 years, it has been hypothesized that, during autumn migration, blackpoll warblers (Setophaga striata) depart northeastern North America and undertake a non-stop flight over the Atlantic Ocean to either the Greater Antilles or the northeastern coast of South America. Using miniaturized light-level geolocators, we provide the first irrefutable evidence that the blackpoll warbler, a 12 g boreal forest songbird, completes an autumn transoceanic migration ranging from 2270 to 2770 km (mean \textpm s.d.: 2540 \textpm 257) and requiring up to 3 days (62 h \textpm 10) of non-stop flight. This is one of the longest non-stop overwater flights recorded for a songbird and confirms what has long been believed to be one of the most extraordinary migratory feats on the planet.