Congratulations and warm wishes to our students Inbal and Yuval!

05 May 2020

To Inbal for the birth of her son, Nuri, and to Yuval for the birth of his son, Aviv!  

Congratulations and warm wishes to the head of our lab Nir Sapir

05 May 2020

For his promotion to Associate Professor!

Welcome new M.Sc. student Gina Pyo

05 May 2020

We are delighted to welcome Gina Pyo to our lab, and wish her luck in her studies and research! More information will follow.

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New publications

Large-scale longitudinal climate gradient across the Palearctic region affects passerine feather moult extent

20 February 2018

Kiat, Y., Davaasuren, B., Erdenechimeg, T., Troupin, D. and N. Sapir. 2020. Large-scale longitudinal climate gradient across the Palearcticregion affects passerine feather moult extent. Ecography 43. doi: ABSTRACT Large-scale spatial...

Seasonal niche tracking of climate emerges at the population level in a migratory bird

20 October 2020

Fandos, G., Rotics, S., Sapir, N., Fiedler, W., Kaatz, M., Wikelski, M., Nathan, R., and D. Zurell. 2020. Seasonal niche tracking of climate emerges at the population level in a...

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Wintering in Europe instead of Africa enhances juvenile survival in a long-distance migrant

Rotics, S., S. Turjeman, M. Kaatz, Y.S. Resheff, D. Zurell, N. Sapir, U. Eggers, W. Fiedler, A. Flack, F. Jeltsch, M. Wikelski, and R. Nathan. 2017. Wintering in Europe instead of Africa enhances juvenile survival in a long-distance migrant. Animal Behaviour 126: 79-88.


Increased human-induced environmental changes and global warming alter bird migration timing and routes. Recently, many Holarctic species, including white storks, Ciconia ciconia, were reported to overwinter at higher latitudes, closer to breeding grounds. We aimed to understand the causes and implications of this phenomenon by examining bird survival and behaviour during overwintering in Europe versus Africa. We compared GPS and body acceleration data of 54 juvenile (first-year) white storks that originated from the same European natal population and overwintered in Europe or Africa. All six juveniles that overwintered in Europe survived through their first year, which was significantly higher than only 38% of the 48 overwintering in the species' traditional grounds in Africa. During overwintering, storks in Europe differed from those in Africa by (1) reducing movement and foraging range, (2) spending less time flying and more time resting, thus using less energy (estimated from overall dynamic body acceleration) and (3) reducing foraging effort, while relying more on anthropogenic resources (landfills and agricultural areas). Timing affected overwintering site as juveniles that overwintered in Europe hatched and started migrating later. We emphasize, however, that late hatching by itself did not yield a survival benefit as not all late juveniles curtailed their migration. We suggest that wintering in Europe was less demanding compared to Africa which may explain the increased survival of juveniles that wintered in Europe. Our findings correspond to the general increase in the European wintering population of white storks, and shed light on the contemporary trend of shortened bird migration; a phenomenon with potentially broad ecological implications.

About us

We are a group of scientists devoted to the study of animal flight, including animal movement ecology, behavior, physiology and biomechanics. We study wild animals in the field and in the lab using a diversity of research approaches. We welcome applications for M.Sc. and Ph.D. studies and post-doctoral work in our group at the Department of Evolutionary and Environmental Biology at the University of Haifa.