Recovery of ringed birds provides only a partial view of bird movements and may be complemented by using techniques such as molecular analyses. The White-throated Dipper Cinclus cinclus is a passerine restricted to mountain rivers, and considered sedentary in the Iberian Peninsula. The objective of this paper is to establish whether the displacement data found by molecular techniques match those obtained by ringing or not, and to infer if these displacements follow a defined route. 236 Dippers from 13 populations in the Iberian Peninsula were ringed and genotyped using microsatellite markers. The percentage of ringed Dippers that was subsequently recorded outside the sampling area was less than 3%, with most of the birds confined to the same river stretch. However, according to the genetic information presented here, 14.4% of the individuals had moved from their natal localities to other river basins, where they were subsequently trapped. Moreover, migrant Dippers travelled an average distance of 218 km (range 79–484), which is about ten times the distance estimated through ringing recoveries occurring in additional ringing data. The results of the genetic analysis revealed that Iberian Dippers move frequently between mountain ranges and suggest four potential routes for Dipper movements in the Iberian Peninsula. Molecular techniques thus complement the data obtained by ringing and provide new insights into the dispersion of this species.
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Vol. 106 • No. 2