We studied the seasonal movements and migration often Pallas's Gulls Larus ichthyaetus trom Qinghai Lake to assess migratory routes and stopover areas. Each individual was captured and equipped with an 18 g solar-powered Platform Transmitter Terminal (PIT) to track its movements from September 2007 to May 2008. Six individuals remained near Qinghai Lake until the PTTs stopped transmitting. Three individuals flew 50-330 km from Qinghai Lake to nearby salt lakes. One individual departed on 8 December and flew over 1,700 km south-west to arrive at coastal Bangladesh on 9 January 2008. Two individuals flew in October to the Brahmaputra River in Assam, India, remaining in the area for at least one month until one stopped transmitting. The second individual travelled southwest to coastal Bangladesh. Of the two individuals overwintering in Bangladesh, one remained for 67 days before migrating north. The second bird departed after 96 days, and it returned to Qinghai on 10 May 2008 after 48 days in migration. Both individuals that overwintered in coastal Bangladesh arrived much later than the outbreaks of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza (HP AI H5N I) in poultry in 2007. This disparity in timing would tentatively suggest that this species was not involved in long-distance movements of the virus. Instead, the converse may be true: previous work demonstrates the potential for virus spill-over trom poultry into gulls and other wild bird species upon arrival into locations with widespread HPAI H5NI outbreaks and environmental contamination.
Additional publication details
Seasonal movements and migration of Pallas's Gulls Larus ichthyaetus from Qinghai Lake, China