Dr. Gintaras Malmiga's article in Science journal


Dr. Gintaras Malmiga, Junior Researcher of the Laboratory of Avian Ecology, together with other researchers published an article in Science journal!

Migrating towards wintering grounds and back to their breeding areas, birds encounter a multitude of challenges. Willing to investigate the migration of tiny songbirds in greater detail, Dr. Gintaras Malmiga together with his colleagues from Swedish and Danish universities tracked Great Reed Warblers (Acrocephalus arundinaceus). Though these birds weigh merely 30 g, they fly for winter to Africa, south of Sahara Desert. The outfitting of Great Reed Warblers with data loggers – small backpacks made it possible to learn how these birds migrate: where, how high and how long they fly.

Usually, Great Reed Warblers spent their nights flying and rested and fed during the day. However, when migrating over the Mediterranean Sea and Sahara Desert they extended their usual night flies to the day, thus sometimes being airborne for more than 32 hours. The data obtained impressed not only with how long these birds can remain airborne bur also with soaring so high. At night, Great Reed Warblers stayed at typical altitudes of 2.3 km, but in the daytime they soared as high as up to 6.2 km, most probably trying to avoid the heating of Sun's rays. These results published in Science journal can help understand why most birds are nocturnal migrants.

The Science journal described these  results  on its website.