Spring migration of Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchosthrough western Mediterranean islands: Illa de l’Aire and Columbrets

Barriocanal C., Robson D.

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Spring migration of Nightingale Luscinia megarhynchos over the western Mediterranean has been studied using observations collected at a ringing station on the islands of Illa de l’Aire (Balearics) and Columbrets (60 km. off mainland of Levante region) in Spain. During the years 1994-2003, birds were caught, and measured, between 16th April and 15th May. The mean arrival date was three days later in second-year than in adults on Illa de l’Aire and two days on Columbrets. At the two stations long-winged individuals passed before short-winged birds, both in the case of second-year and adults. Adults were heavier than second-year and signifcant differences were found in body mass along the season, i.e. heavier individuals passed before lighter ones. Important differences were found on fat scores being the mean in Columbrets signifcatively lower than on Illa de l’Aire. Our observations suggest that those Nightingales stopping over at Columbrets islands are not really overseas migrants, as they have a coastline migration strategy despite passing over islands located 60 km offshore.