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6488 returns to 2021 summer territory

Greater spotted eagle (6488) after arriving back at Al Jahra, October 2021. ©KEL

We have been tracking a Greater spotted eagle (6488) since January 2020, when we caught it at Al Jahra, Kuwait.  In summer 2020 it wandered widely in the breeding range, and did not hold a breeding territory (below left). In winter 2020-21, it returned to Al Jahra, then migrated in spring and settled into a territory in summer 2021 at a location about 90 km SE of Chelyabinsk, Russia (below right).  The blog we did for summer 2021 is here.

Movements of a Greater spotted eagle (6488) during January 2020 – October 2021.  Right panel: 2020 movements, Left panel: 2021 movement. Blue = winter movements, Purple = spring migration, Red = summer movements, Green = Autumn migration. ©KEL, KFAS, IAR.

In winter 2021-22, it was again at Al Jahra, and on 25 March it left on spring migration, and has arrived back at the same summering location it used in 2021 (See below).  The breeding season is still young, so we don’t yet have a clear indication whether this bird will breed in 2022.

Breeding season locations of a Greater spotted eagle (6488) in July 2021 (purple) and April 2022 (yellow). ©KEL, KFAS, IAR.

It is interesting, but not unusual for eagles to show fidelity to their breeding and wintering places.  One Greater spotted eagle tagged at a nesting site in Poland, returned every year for ten years.  That bird also showed fidelity every year to its wintering area, which was along the upper reaches of the Nile River on the border between Sudan and South Sudan.

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