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Sex, landscape diversity and primary productivity shape the seasonal space use of a migratory European raptor

Cite this dataset

Spatz, Theresa et al. (2022). Sex, landscape diversity and primary productivity shape the seasonal space use of a migratory European raptor [Dataset]. Dryad.


Intrinsic and extrinsic drivers shape the space use of wide-ranging raptors. A large proportion of raptors are migrants that shift their activity ranges between summer and winter habitats, where they encounter different environmental conditions. Analysing the effects of intrinsic and extrinsic drivers on the space use in summer and winter habitats provides crucial insights into the ecology of migratory raptors. Here, we investigated the seasonal space use by 43 red kites (Milvus milvus) tracked by GPS-transmitters across central and south-western Europe over seven years. We compared space use patterns, i.e., activity range sizes and mean daily distances of the birds between summer and winter, and analysed the influence of extrinsic (landscape diversity, primary productivity) and intrinsic factors (sex). Within summer, we investigated the influence of breeding success and sex on activity range sizes. We further analysed differences in habitat availability and habitat selection between seasons. We found that space use was smaller in summers than in winters. When compared to those of males, activity ranges of female red kites were larger in summers and smaller in winters, with shorter mean daily distances in both seasons. Within summer, successfully breeding red kites had smaller activity range sizes in both sexes, but this effect was stronger in females than in males. Regardless of the season, landscape diversity was positively correlated with space use, whereas primary productivity was negatively correlated with it. The habitat use differed between seasons, with agricultural landscapes being less proportionally used in summers than in winters. Overall, we showed that both intrinsic and extrinsic drivers shaped space use in both the seasons, leading to differences in space use patterns and habitat use in migratory raptors between their summer and winter habitats. Our findings underline the importance of consideration of the entire annual cycle of migratory species for conservation management.


Deutsche Bundesstiftung Umwelt, Award: 20016/463

Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety, Award: FKZ 3511685C10

Stiftung Naturschutz Thüringen

Federal Agency for Nature Conservation