Movements of Grey-tailed Tattlers and Terek Sandpipers in the East Asian–Australasian Flyway


27 – 34

1 April 10

N. J. B. A. Branson, Yoshemitsu Shigeta, C. Y. Chiang, C. D. T. Minton

C. D. T. Minton
165 Dalgetty Road, Beaumaris, Vic 3193, Australia.


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We examine the movements of Grey-tailed Tattlers Heteroscelus brevipes and Terek Sandpipers Xenus cinereus in the East Asian–Australasian Flyway based on banding recoveries and flag sightings of birds marked in Australia, Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, China, Indonesia and Russia. Although in the East Asian–Australasian Flyway the two species have similar breeding and non-breeding distributions, there are significant differences in their migration strategies. Moreover within each species, birds spending the austral summer in NW Australia have different migration strategies to those from E Australia. Grey-tailed Tattlers from E Australia stop in Japan on both north and south migration. Those from NW Australia mainly stage in S China and Taiwan on north migration, but also use Korea and Japan on south migration, with a two-stop migration strategy. Terek Sandpipers from E Australia occur widely along the SE Asia mainland, as well as in Japan, on both migrations, but those from NW Australia initially stage in Taiwan and S China on north migration, before moving on to Korea. In contrast, only a single stop seems to be made in E Asia on south migration. There is also a passage of Terek Sandpipers along the SE Asia mainland coast to non-breeding areas in Malaysia. It is likely that Terek Sandpiper populations have been adversely affected by major loss of intertidal habitat around the Yellow Sea as many pass through that area on migration. However, few Grey-tailed Tattlers stop there, so they are less likely to have been affected.