Coordinators: Victor R. Cueto and Diego T. Tuero (Departamento de Ecología, Genética y Evolución, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas y Naturales, Universidad de Buenos Aires)
Associate researchers: Diego Masson, Eluney Aguilar, Natalia Bogado, Caleb Lemmo, Omar Barroso, Emily Williams
In Argentina, we study the migratory strategies and reproductive biology of Fork-tailed Flycatchers (T. savana, and Tropical Kingbirds, T. melancholicus at the Reserva Privada El Destino (Fig. 2). Additionally, we study the mechanisms driving sexual selection in Fork-tailed Flycatchers.
These species arrive each year at Reserva Privada El Destino in October and reproduce here from November until January. They begin their return journey to the tropics in January and February.
Our field work consists primarily of searching for nests, monitoring active nests and catching and measuring the adults. We also take measurements of the eggs and nestlings in as many nests as possible. We attach numbered and color bands to adults and nestlings, and also attach light-level geolocators to adults, to track their migration. We also measure the micro-habitat characteristics of the micro-habitat around each nest, census the bird community at the site, and collect data on food abundance for the birds.
Reserva Privada El Destino (35° S, 57° W): Located in the Province of Buenos Aires, this is a private protected area managed by the Fundacion Elsa Shaw de Pearson. El Destino is characterized by three primary habitat types: (1) Riparian grasslands on the Río de la Plata, composed of Vigna luteola, Echinocloa helodes and Zyzaniopsis bonariensis, (2) Forest patches locally called “tallares”, composed of Celtis tala and Scutia buxifolia, which grow on ancient shell beds, one to two meters above the surrounding landscape. These marine deposits originated during a time when this area was under water during the Quaternary, and (3) Grasslands primarily composed of Eringium cabrerae (primarily in poorly-drained areas), and of Lolium multiflorum, Stipa charruana and Bothrochloa laguroides in well-drained areas.
The climate is seasonal, with warm to hot summers and mild winters. Freezing conditions are rare due to the temperate influence of the nearby Río de la Plata. Average annual precipitation is 885 mm, with the wettest months being January and February, though there is not a well-defined dry season.