Ph.d. defense Mathilde Lerche-Jørgensen – Københavns Universitet

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Ph.d. defense Mathilde Lerche-Jørgensen

Songbirds on the move: Investigating migratory patterns, winter ecology and conservation of sub-Saharan migrants.

Every year more than 2.1 billion birds migrate between their breeding grounds in Europe and their wintering ground in sub-Saharan Africa, tracking resources between seasons.

However, over the recent decades the populations of these migrant species are generally declining throughout Europe. Although the decline has been linked to environmental conditions e.g. rainfall patterns and the type of the wintering habitat as well as to problems in adapting arrival time to climate change, little is known about the true drivers of these declines or how to reverse them.

The aim of my PhD is to fill gaps in this research agenda that have important implications for conservation actions of migrant songbirds. In particular I aim to understand general migration patterns related to timing of migration.

Furthermore, I aim to contribute to the understanding of where and how to conserve migratory species by documenting migratory routes and investigating winter ecology of migrants wintering in sub-Saharan Africa.

Link to thesis PDF.


  • Jon Fjeldså
  • Juliet Vickery
  • Christiaan Both


  • Kasper Thorup