Costs of migratory decisions: A comparison across eight white stork populations

Andrea Flack*, Wolfgang Fiedler, Julio Blas, Ivan Pokrovsky, Michael Kaatz, Maxim Mitropolsky, Karen Aghababyan, Ioannis Fakriadis, Eleni Makrigianni, Leszek Jerzak, Hichem Azafzaf, Claudia Feltrup-Azafzaf, Shay Rotics, Thabiso M. Mokotjomela, Ran Nathan, Martin Wikelski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

128 Scopus citations


Annual migratory movements can range from a few tens to thousands of kilometers, creating unique energetic requirements for each specific species and journey. Even within the same species, migration costs can vary largely because of flexible, opportunistic life history strategies. We uncover the large extent of variation in the lifetime migratory decisions of young white storks originating from eight populations. Not only did juvenile storks differ in their geographically distinct wintering locations, their diverse migration patterns also affected the amount of energy individuals invested for locomotion during the first months of their life. Overwintering in areas with higher human population reduced the stork's overall energy expenditure because of shorter daily foraging trips, closer wintering grounds, or a complete suppression of migration. Because migrants can change ecological processes in several distinct communities simultaneously, understanding their life history decisions helps not only to protect migratory species but also to conserve stable ecosystems.

Original languageAmerican English
Article numbere1500931
JournalScience advances
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2016

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© The Authors, some rights reserved; exclusive licensee American Association for the Advancement of Science.


Dive into the research topics of 'Costs of migratory decisions: A comparison across eight white stork populations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this