Scientific Journal of the BirdLife Hungary

A Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület tudományos folyóirata

Ornis Hungarica. vol.25(1). (2017) p.1-24.

Dispersal and migration of a specialist waterbird: where do Eurasian Spoonbills (Platalea leucorodia) come to Hungary from?
Csaba Pigniczki

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Between 1950 and 2016, 254 individuals of Eurasian Spoonbill (Platalea leucorodia) of foreign origin were observed during their dispersal or migration in Hungary from eight countries. Colour-ringed birds originating from Serbia, Croatia and the Czech Republic were the most commonly observed, while indivi­duals from Italy, the Danube Delta (Romania) and the Wadden Sea area (Denmark and The Netherlands) were observed rarely in Hungary. Only metal ringed Spoonbills were recovered from Austria. All age-classes were found in Hungary: juveniles were the most common, while 2cy immatures formed the rarest class. Adults from the Wadden Sea area, and also from the Danube Delta were observed in Hungary during the breeding season, implying potential gene flow between those areas and the Carpathian Basin. My results predict that the breeding population of the Carpathian Basin forms a unique subunit of a metapopulation which is in close contact with the Czech population. The nesting of adults of Serbian and Croatian origin was confirmed in Hungary. Two prospecting subadults (4cy) were observed in Hungarian colonies, one was from Serbia, and the other was from Italy. One adult (5cy) occurred in several Hungarian wetlands in a short period before breeding, which probably explored habitats for breeding or for feeding. Spoonbills of Czech, Serbian, Croatian and Italian origin observed in Hungary used the Central Mediterranean or the Adriatic Flyway. Individuals from the East Atlantic population arrived to Hungary by shifting their migration routes. One bird from the Danube Delta wintered in Tunisia, where it probably joined Hungarian breeders and reached Hungary with them. Adults and juveniles from the Czech Republic used the wetlands around Lake Neusiedler as a stop-over and staging area during autumn migration. My results suggest that Hungarian wetlands play an important role in the movements and breeding of Spoonbills in Central Europe, thus, the management and conservation of these wetlands are essential for the future.