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Just when you thought you knew it all: new evidence for flexible breeding patterns in Continental Black-tailed Godwits

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Pages
18 – 24

Published
1 June 15

Authors
Nathan Senner, Mo A. Verhoeven, Jos C.E.W. Hooijmeijer, Theunis Piersma

DOI
doi: 10.18194/ws.00006

Correspondence
Nathan Senner
n.r.senner@rug.nl
Conservation Ecology Group, Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences, University of Groningen, P.O. Box
11103, 9700 CC, Groningen, The Netherlands

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Global climate change is rapidly altering the phenology and behaviour of species, leading to the occurrence of new and extreme trait values, especially among long-distance migratory birds. While infrequently published, the documentation and regular revision of the known spectrum of these trait values can be valuable for identifying the selective pressures acting on a population and influencing best management and conservation practices. Here we argue that the previouslydocumented spectrum of reproductive behaviours in the rapidly declining Continental Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa limosa is in need of revision. Our data show that new extreme values for a number of reproductive traits occurred during the 2014 breeding season and that by almost every metric, 2014 had the longest laying period on record for the population. These findings suggest that godwit reproductive biology may be more flexible than previously thought and that this flexibility should be reflected by changes in European meadowbird policies.