Seasonal contrasts in individual consistency of oriental honey buzzards' migration

Shoko Sugasawa, Hiroyoshi Higuchi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Individual consistency in migration can shine light on the mechanisms of migration. Most studies have reported that birds are more consistent in the timing than in the routes or stopover sites during migration, but some specialist species showed the opposite patterns, being more consistent in spatial than temporal aspects of migration. One possible explanation for this contrast is that specialists rely on particular food or habitat resources, which restrict the migratory routes they can take, leading to high spatial consistency. If this is the case, the effect of specialist foraging should become apparent only when birds forage, instead of fasting and flying continuously. To test this effect, we analysed individual consistency in migration of the oriental honey buzzard (Pernis ptilorhynchus), a specialist raptor that feeds on honeybees and wasps, using a long-term tracking dataset. As honey buzzards make extended stopovers during which they forage in spring but not in autumn, the spatial consistency should be higher in spring than in autumn. Honey buzzards were highly consistent in both their migratory routes and stopover sites in Southeast Asia, but only during spring migration. Our results highlight an important link between species' migratory consistency and foraging ecology.
Original languageEnglish
Article number20190131
Number of pages5
JournalBiology Letters
Issue number6
Early online date12 Jun 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2019


  • Migration
  • Individual variation
  • Consistency foraging
  • Pernis ptilorhynchus
  • Satellite tracking


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