Tagged Curlew Sandpiper in South Africa

Subject: Tagged Curlew Sandpiper in South Africa
Date: Tue, 9 Apr 2002 11:49:37 +1000
I thought someone would have addressed why a Curlew Sandpiper banded in 
Australia would end up in South Africa.  (Not because, as some would like 
to think, that it had the  scared out of it).

Curlew Sandpipers breed in Siberia.  Those in the east migrating south to 
Australia while those breeding in the west migrate to Africa.  I was at a 
symposium on migration in South Africa in 1993 and a paper was presented 
on the migration of Curlew Sandpipers.  I don't have the paper on hand and 
my memory is letting me down a little on the precise detail but there is 
an area of overlap in the breeding ranges of these two "populations". 
While Curlew Sandpipers are normally fairly faithful to wintering sites 
(that is the area used outside the breeding season) this particular Curlew 
Sandpiper is not the first bird to perform this switch of migration route. 

This bird most likely breeds in the overlap and got caught up in the 
"wrong" flock of migrating birds.  It would be interesting to know if it 
is now imprinted upon the wintering site in South Africa.

David Geering

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