Rice fields along the East Asian- Australasian flyway are important habitats for an inland wader’s migration

Authors: Satoe Kasahara, Gen Morimoto, Wataru Kitamura, Sadao Imanishi & Nobuyuki Azuma

Year: 2020

Publication: Scientific Reports

Publication Link: https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-60141-z

Abstract: To maintain and recover populations of migratory waders, we must identify the important stopover sites and habitat use along migration routes. However, we have little such information for waders that depend on inland freshwater areas compared with those that depend on coastal areas. Recent technological developments in tracking devices now allow us to define habitat use at a fine scale. In this study, we used GPS loggers to track both spring and autumn migration along the East Asian-Australasian flyway of the little ringed plover (Charadrius dubius) as birds moved to and from their
breeding grounds, gravel riverbeds in Japan. The birds we tracked overwintered in the Philippines and made stopovers mainly in Taiwan and the Philippines. The most important habitat during the nonbreeding season was rice paddy fields. Our findings imply that changes in agriculture management policy in the countries along the migration route could critically affect the migration of waders that depend on rice paddy fields. To maintain populations of migrant inland waders that move within the East Asian-Australasian flyway, it is necessary not only to sustain the breeding habitat but also wetlands including the rice paddy fields as foraging habitat for the non-breeding season.

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