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Update 2: Greater Spotted Eagle 6488 Spring Migration and Summering 2021

Following on from the previous update blog (here), this post recounts the movements of our tracked Greater spotted eagle (6488) during spring migration and summer 2021.

6488 departed from Al Jahra on spring migration on 22 March, and migrated for 25 days (until 16 April).  It flew a total of 4667 km, migrating across southern Iraq, Iran, western Turkmenistan, western Kazakhstan, and into southern Russia (See map below).  Average speed on migration was 21.8 km/hr (max = 143 km/hr).  During its flight to the summering area it stopped-over twice: once during 6 – 8 April and a second time during  9 – 14 April  in west-central Kazakhstan.

Track (green) of an adult female Greater spotted eagle during spring migration 2021. Green diamond = start of spring migration (Al Jahra), green stars = stopover locations,  red diamond = end of spring migration.  Grey lines are movements in 2020. © KFAS/KEL/IAR

Unlike in 2020, the eagle settled into a small home range, indicating that it was holding a territory.  Tracking suggested that it spent 50% of its time in a mere 0.63 km2.  The summer range was located in southern Russia (approx.: 54.615°N, 62.664°E), about 90 km SE of the town of Chelyabinsk, and the habitat in the territory was lowland forest within agricultural areas. Although the eagle was holding a territory, tracking indicated that it probably did not actually breed.

Movements by an adult female Greater spotted eagle (6488) during summer 2021 (left panel).  Red box = area of territory. Black dots in lower right map = summer night roost locations. 

Dr. Mike McGrady

is an ecologist, specializing in raptors, including eagles. He has worked on a variety of projects over the past 30 years on raptors in Arabia, and has worked on raptors in Central Asia that migrate to Arabia.

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