Neotropical migratory songbirds typically breed in temperate regions and then travel long distances to spend the majority of the annual cycle in tropical wintering areas. Using stable-isotope methodology, we provide quantitative evidence of dual breeding ranges for 5 species of Neotropical migrants. Each is well known to have a Neotropical winter range and a breeding range in the United States and Canada. However, after their first bout of breeding in the north, many individuals migrate hundreds to thousands of kilometers south in midsummer to breed a second time during the same summer in coastal west Mexico or Baja California Sur. They then migrate further south to their final wintering areas in the Neotropics. Our discovery of dual breeding ranges in Neotropical migrants reveals a hitherto unrealized flexibility in life-history strategies for these species and underscores that demographic models and conservation plans must consider dual breeding for these migrants.
Project Report: Migratory Double Breeding in Neotropical Migrant Birds