Potential impacts of climate change on the winter distribution of Afro-Palaearctic migrant passerines

Morgane Barbet-Massin, Bruno A. Walther, Wilfried Thuiller, Carsten Rahbek, Frédéric Jiguet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)


We modelled the present and future sub-Saharan winter distributions of 64 trans-Saharan migrant passerines to predict the potential impacts of climate change. These predictions used the recent ensemble modelling developments and the latest IPCC climatic simulations to account for possible methodological uncertainties. Results suggest that 37 species would face a range reduction by 2100 (16 of these by more than 50%); however, the median range size variation is -13 per cent (from -97 to +980%) under a full dispersal hypothesis. Range centroids were predicted to shift by 500±373 km. Predicted changes in range size and location were spatially structured, with species that winter in southern and eastern Africa facing larger range contractions and shifts. Predicted changes in regional species richness for these long-distance migrants are increases just south of the Sahara and on the Arabian Peninsula and major decreases in southern and eastern Africa.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)248-251
Number of pages4
JournalBiology Letters
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 23 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Africa
  • Birds
  • Climate change
  • Climate suitability model
  • Ensemble forecast
  • Species' range shift

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences


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