The effects of geolocators on return rates, condition, and breeding success in Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos

  • June 22, 2020
  • by Mondain-Monval, T. O., du Feu, R., & Sharp, S. P.


Capsule: Fitting geolocators to Common Sandpipers Actitis hypoleucos did not affect their return rates, return dates, body condition or reproductive success, but did cause leg injuries in some individuals.
Aims: To investigate the effect of fitting geolocators to Common Sandpipers on their return rates and timing, the condition in which they return and their subsequent breeding success.
Methods: We fitted geolocators to colour-ringed Common Sandpipers and monitored them throughout the breeding seasons prior to migration and following return from their wintering grounds. We then compared return rate, return date, change in body condition, hatching success, and fledging success between birds with and without the tags. We also fitted a number of smaller geolocators to wintering individuals in Africa and compared their return rates with a control group.
Results: We found no significant differences between birds with and without geolocators in any of the variables measured. However, several individuals fitted with the larger tags were found to have incurred leg injuries.
Conclusion: Our study highlights the need for complete transparency when reporting the effects of geolocators and shows the importance of continuous monitoring of individuals when carrying out tracking studies.