Volume 13 Issue 1
Mar.  2022
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Yuwen Cheng, Zhixin Wen, Xingcheng He, Zhehan Dong, Mingyu Zhangshang, Dongrui Li, Yan Wang, Yong Jiang, Yongjie Wu. 2022: Ecological traits affect the seasonal migration patterns of breeding birds along a subtropical altitudinal gradient. Avian Research, 13(1): 100066. doi: 10.1016/j.avrs.2022.100066
Citation: Yuwen Cheng, Zhixin Wen, Xingcheng He, Zhehan Dong, Mingyu Zhangshang, Dongrui Li, Yan Wang, Yong Jiang, Yongjie Wu. 2022: Ecological traits affect the seasonal migration patterns of breeding birds along a subtropical altitudinal gradient. Avian Research, 13(1): 100066. doi: 10.1016/j.avrs.2022.100066

Ecological traits affect the seasonal migration patterns of breeding birds along a subtropical altitudinal gradient

doi: 10.1016/j.avrs.2022.100066
Funds:  This study was financially supported by The Second Tibetan Plateau Scientific Expedition and Research Program (No. 2019QZKK0501) and National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 31772478, 31501851)
More Information
  • Corresponding author: E-mail address: wuyongjie@scu.edu.cn (Y. Wu)
  • Received Date: 05 Apr 2022
  • Accepted Date: 26 Sep 2022
  • Rev Recd Date: 22 Sep 2022
  • Available Online: 12 Jan 2023
  • Publish Date: 17 Oct 2022
  • Altitudinal bird migration involves seasonal shifts up and down the altitude gradient annually. Asia as the place with the largest number of altitudinal migrants, has quite few related studies, especially for montane and temperate avifaunas. To explore the potential drivers of seasonal altitudinal migration for birds in the middle of Hengduan Mountains, we conducted a three-year investigation on breeding and non-breeding season bird communities at eight elevational bands (1200–4200 ​m) in the Gongga Mountains. We examined the altitudinal migration patterns and relationships between seasonal distribution shifts and species' traits of 50 species with sufficient data recorded in both seasons. We found that a large proportion of breeding birds underwent altitudinal migration and showed three migration patterns (downslope shift, upslope shift, no shift). Seasonal distribution shifts were mainly correlated with certain ecological traits. Species breeding at high and mid-elevations, nesting in scrub and being omnivorous are more likely to show downslope movements during the non-breeding season. In addition, territorially weaker species exhibited more diverse migration patterns. Notably, we found the hand-wing index (HWI) was actually more convincing than body mass in explaining altitudinal migration. These results consolidate the studies of seasonal altitudinal migration in montane birds. Our study could be used to bridge existing knowledge gaps that currently impeding effective conservation for montane avifaunas in the Hengduan Mountains.


  • * Corresponding author. Key Laboratory of Bio-Resources and Eco-Environment, Ministry of Education, College of Life Science, Sichuan University, Chengdu, 610065, China.
    1 These two authors contributed equally to this work.
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