Timing of the breeding season of Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa and Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus in The Netherlands

C. J. M. Musters, W. J. ter Keurs, G. R. de Snoo

Research output: Contribution to journal/periodicalArticleScientificpeer-review


Long-distance migratory bird species might face larger problems to adapt to local climate change in their breeding area than short-distance migrants. This study investigated the effect of climatic change on the timing of the breeding season of two wader species with contrasting migration strategies, the long-distance migratory Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa and the short-distance migrant Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus. We tested the hypothesis that a change in breeding schedule will be stronger in the Lapwing than in the Godwit. Our analyses are based on the ringing dates of around 35,000 Black-tailed Godwit chicks and 112,000 Lapwing chicks from 1960 to 2004 in The Netherlands. The results demonstrate that the Lapwing is breeding earlier than in the 1960s, independent of the species' direct response to warm early springs. In contrast, the Godwit does not exhibit earlier breeding dates other than a direct response to warmer springs. Our observations suggest that the Godwit is not able to advance breeding dates to cope with changes in its breeding habitat. This could mean the species is suffering lower breeding success than would have been the case if it had adapted, and this could be one of the reasons for the stronger decline in The Netherlands of the Godwit population than that of the Lapwing.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-202
Number of pages8
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • meadow birds Black-tailed Godwit Lapwing timing breeding season climate change agriculture recent climate-change migration birds temperature phenology Zoology


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