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Orioles adapt the location of their wintering grounds to weather conditions


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The ability to adjust to changing environmental conditions is an essential prerequisite for species to cope with climate change. Using stable isotope analysis, a team of scientists led by the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW) now unraveled the link between wintering destinations of Eurasian Golden Oriole migrations and rainfall intensities in potential wintering grounds in sub-Saharan Africa. Analyzing historical feathers from 1818 to 1971, they identified two distinct wintering areas whose use depended on prevailing rainfall intensity. The link between the key migratory overwintering destination and local precipitation demonstrates the dependence of these birds on rainfall in sub-Saharan Africa—a parameter that might change with climate change and related processes of desertification. The results are published in the scientific journal Global Change Biology.

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