Many waterbirds move seasonally within the major river basins of tropical South America. Multi-species avian flyways have been documented for parts of Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia, but very little is known about annual movements of birds within the Neotropics.
To study the intra-tropical migration of waterbirds here, we are tracking two sandbank-dependent species, the Black Skimmer (Rynchops niger) and the Orinoco Goose (Neochen jubata), using satellite telemetry. Tagging sites are spread across Amazonian rivers and adjacent biomes.
We provide tracking results that demonstrate a migratory convergence between seemingly disparate populations of Orinoco Geese and skimmers of western Amazonia, but divergent migrations for some populations of Black Skimmers. Orinoco Geese from Peru and the Rio Juruá, Brazil all migrate to the Llanos de Moxos, Bolivia, each year after breeding. Skimmers from two western sites undertook migrations across the Andes after the breeding season, using identical stopover beaches both east and west of the high Peruvian Andes. Some skimmers use the Paraná Basin as a flyway, an important route for many waterbirds heading to Atlantic coastal sites. The insights gained into avian flyways and stopovers for these two species allow us to pinpoint potential sites for targeting conservation efforts.