Habitat preferences of juvenile Scottish ospreys (Pandion haliaetus) at stopover and wintering sites

Ruth E. Crawford, Jed A. Long

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In this study, we use satellite-tracking data from five juvenile Scottish Ospreys Pandion haliaetus to explore habitat preferences at stopover and wintering sites. Daily activity patterns were analysed using a binomial generalised linear model. Kernel density estimation was used to identify core areas at stopover sites and seasonal ranges at the wintering site. A ‘use versus available habitat’ study design was implemented to test whether Ospreys showed preference for a variety of landscape and land-cover variables and for protected areas. Autumn migration strategies varied between individuals, with some Ospreys using stopover sites in France, Spain and Morocco. Ospreys wintered at sites in West Africa. Activity levels varied through the day, with localised peaks at 11:00 and 15:00 h. Ospreys preferred to be near to water features (rivers, lakes, ocean) while avoiding urban areas. Individual differences were observed when considering preference for forest and open-area land-cover classes. Overall, Ospreys did not preferentially use protected areas. Our research confirms already well-established preferences for aquatic habitats, but preference for or avoidance of other habitats, including protected areas, varied between individuals. We highlight the potential of combining satellite-tracking data with environmental data sources to explore the spatial ecology of migratory birds at stopover and wintering sites abroad.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-18
JournalRinging & Migration
Issue number1
Early online date12 Jun 2017
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Space use
  • Use vs available habitat
  • Satellite telemetry
  • Movement ecology
  • Stopover ecology


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