The movement shortfall in bird conservation: accounting for nomadic, dispersive and irruptive species

Efforts to prioritize conservation planning are undermined by several recognized knowledge shortfalls. Here we highlight a further shortfall, which we term the ‘movement shortfall’, in our knowledge of species movements, with particular reference to dispersive, irruptive and nomadic birds. Despite 100 years of ringing effort, the movement characteristics of these species are still poorly known, as the irregularity of their movements and low human population densities in parts of their range impede traditional methods. A lack of understanding of their movements, combined with an inappropriate conservation approach that relies on protected areas and international frameworks, means that the conservation status of these species continues to deteriorate. We call for the application of new tracking technology and outreach initiatives to help formulate innovative conservation approaches that are better suited to species with irregular move- ment behaviours