Recent evidence suggests that avian population growth rates may be constrained by low postfledging survival. Therefore, quantifying postfledging mortality and understanding the ecological factors that influence it are fundamental for assessing the relative importance of this life-history stage for population growth and identifying the ecological drivers of population dynamics. We radiotracked 110 juvenile Ring Ouzels (Turdus torquatus), a species of high conservation concern in the United Kingdom, to test hypotheses regarding the timing and causes of postfledging mortality and to quantify the timing and magnitude of local movements and dispersal. Juveniles fledged from early-season broods had higher survival during each 4-day period over 116 days postfledging (0.952 ± 0.011 [SE]) than juveniles fledged from late-season broods (0.837 ± 0.021). Most mortality occurred within the first 3 weeks postfledging, and predation by raptors and mammals was the main apparent cause of mortality, accounting for 59% and 27% of deaths, respectively. Juvenile survival decreased at the age of independence from parental care. Juveniles traveled increasing distances from their nests with time after fledging, and those that fledged early in the season dispersed outside the study area at significantly older ages than those that fledged late in the season.
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Vol. 130 • No. 1