Data on the movement of immature Eurasian Spoonbills from the southern Pannonian Basin are presented for the first time and differences in migration patterns between the Atlantic and southern Pannonian breeding populations are identified. Movements of spoonbills from Western Europe are well known, but there is uncertainty about the movements of the eastern metapopulation, of which the southern Pannonian population forms part. Analyses were based on 707 resightings in Europe and North Africa of 272 color-ringed birds. The studied birds wintered in North Africa (predominantly Tunisia) or southern Italy (Sicily and Sardinia). Most birds used the central Mediterranean flyway, but crossed the Adriatic Sea at more northern latitudes than had previously been reported. With increase in age, the ratio of birds spending the breeding period at the wintering sites decreased (54.2% for second-year and 13.6% for third-year birds), while the ratio of those returning to the Pannonian breeding grounds increased (37.5% and 66.6% respectively). Older spoonbills arrived back at their natal areas earlier. Immature spoonbills from the southern Pannonian Basin population visited breeding colonies in Germany, confirming at least sporadic contacts between two metapopulations. Identification of migration routes and wintering areas is a major precondition for the conservation of the eastern metapopulation. Illegal hunting, tourism development on staging areas and lack of suitable feeding habitats along flyway have been identified as the most important threats.
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Vol. 35 • No. 2