Tracking the full annual cycle of a small songbird along the East Asian flyway

We used light-level-based geolocation to study the spatio-temporal behaviour of Siberian Rubythroats Calliope calliope breeding in the Amur region of the Russian Far East. Three retrieved devices revealed long-distance migrations, with south-westward movement from Amur through Northeast China in autumn, with the tracked individuals reaching their wintering grounds in southern China and Indochina without major detours and apparently on a route slightly further west than that of the return migration in spring. A single stopover occurred in two of the three birds in both spring and autumn in China. Migration was faster in spring compared to autumn. The birds spent most of their time in seasonal habitats on their temperate breeding sites, and in less seasonal habitats on their tropical wintering grounds. Departure from and arrival at their breeding site coincided with decreasing and increasing vegetation greenness, respectively. This is the first study presenting year-round tracking data for a songbird migrating from mainland Eurasia to Southeast Asia along the East Asian flyway.