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Greater Spotted Eagle Migration, Autumn 2023

Greater spotted eagle at Al Jahra. Copyright KEL

Since the beginning of our project to better understand the movement and ecology of Greater spotted eagles (Clanga clanga, GSE) that winter in Arabia, we have fitted tracking devices to 9 individuals of different ages.  All the tracked GSEs were captured at the Al Jahra Pools Reserve, demonstrating that the reserve provides valuable habitat for this species of conservation concern.

Over the years we have occasionally published information on this blog about the tracking.  This is our latest update, and contains information about the autumn migration 2023.  You’ll have to visit our previous posts to catch up on what has been happening.

At the time of writing this blog the eagles that are being tracked are now on their wintering grounds, some at Al Jahra, some at other locations.  At the end of the winter season, we’ll tell you about those, so come back and visit the blog when spring rolls around. In the meantime, encourage your friends, family and other contacts to visit the blog.

Currently, we are still tracking five GSEs.  Their identification numbers are 6488, 6490, 6491, 8749, and 8752.  6488 was the first eagle we fitted with a tracking device in January 2020, and since we have collected over 3 million (!) locations for it.

Migration occurred during September and October.  Eagles travelled 2997 – 6420 km on their autumn journey, taking 8 – 46 days to do so (Table 1).

Table 1. Details of autumn migration 2023 of five Greater spotted eagles that have wintered in Kuwait.

ID Start of autumn migration End of autumn migration Distance (km)

Duration (days)


12-Sep 27-Oct 4397



03-Oct 21-Oct 3213



23-Sep 30-Sep 2997



14-Sep 28-Sep 3713


8752 21-Sep 30-Oct 6420


The map below shows the autumn 2023 movements of the eagles currently being tracked.  The translucent lines show the movement of eagles prior to the migration. Notable features are that the eagles all spent their summers in Russia and Kazakhstan. 8752 migrated east of all the other tracked eagles, which resulted in it travelling the farthest (6420 km), more than twice the distance of the eagle that made the shortest migration (2997 km).  Not all birds returned to Al Jahra in the winter of 2023 – 24, but ended their migration in the wetlands and agricultural areas of southern Iran and Iraq.

Figure 1.  Autumn 2023 migration routes of five Greater spotted eagles (Clanga clanga) that have used Al Jahra Pools Reserve, Kuwait for wintering. Translucent tracks are movements before the autumn 2023 migration.

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