Ornis Hungarica. vol.10. (2000) p.129-135.
Spring migration of the Curlew Sandpiper (Calidris ferruginea) in Tunisia.
During three consecutive spring seasons (1995-1997) on the north - east coast of Cap Bon Peninsula in Tunisia, 516 Curlew Sandpipers were caught in mist-nets, ringed, measured and weighed. The sexes were separated following Engelmoer's method (in Wymenga et al. 1990), using wing and bill length measurements.Using Castro & Myers' method (1988,1989), we estimated the flight range of departing birds. Ratio of males : females was 50:50 at the beginning of migration, but decreased to 40:60 by the end of the migration. The average body mass of both sexes increased during the migration season in 1997 and there was a non-significant decreasing trend in 1996. The change of average wing length showed the same tendencies. The daily average body mass change of females was positive in both years. Males gained mass in 1997 but lost mass in 1996. The estimated flight range was variable. The two extremes were 2752 km and 4024 km. Our flight range estimates showed that at the study site the birds accumulated enough fat to cover the distance to the seacoast of Northern Europe through the Mediterranean Sea and the sub-optimal habitats of continental Europe in a single "jump". The north-eastern coast of Tunisia is an important spring refuelling site for Curlew Sandpipers.