Fleeing by Whimbrel <i>Numenius phaeopus</i> in response to a recreational drone in Maputo Bay, Mozambique

  • Gary Allport


Report on an anecdotal observation of a flock of 40 Whimbrel reacting to the deployment of a recreational drone on the beach in Maputo Bay, Mozambique. The feeding flock responded rapidly on seeing the drone at ca. 20m altitude, taking flight and 'fleeing' in a way similar to the response to an aerial predator. Part of the flock then attempted to return to the nearby feeding area, before abandoning the vicinity and all birds retiring to the high tide roost earlier in the tide cycle than normal. Whimbrel in Maputo Bay are used to people, and reacted to the drone by fleeing at a greater distance than would normally be expected if the disturbance was simply from humans.


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