The African “Kestrel express” departed – the spring migration of satellite-tagged Red-footed and Amur Falcons has started

IMG_3733-346x250The birds tagged with satellite transmitters transmitters in Hungary, Italy, Kazakhstan, and Romania spent the winter in Angola, Namibia, Botswana and Zambia. At some points all of the tagged seven birds stayed in a 200-kilometre-diameter circle in Botswana, and then they spread out to an area of about 1.000.000 square kilometers (approximately four times larger territory than Romania).

At the beginning of March the birds started slowly move towards the North, to the imaginary starting line of spring migration in Central-Angola, where they concentrated again on a smaller area. From among the six birds the first five individuals has already started their migration. Hence we will soon find out from where the two birds are from, which were tagged in Eastern Romania during their autumn migration, near a roost site close to the Danube Delta. Hopefully we will find out soon where their breeding area is.

The Amur Falcon is considered to be a “cousin” of the Red-footed Falcon. These falcons look quite similar to the Red-footed Falcons, only they breed in the Far East and usually spend the winter a little bit to the East from their relatives, in Botswana, Zambia, and the Republic of South Africa. From among the two tagged Amur Falcons being in Africa, Naga already started migrating back to its breeding area located in Northern China. He will have to complete a 13.000 kilometer journey.

The location of the tagged Red-footed and Amur Falcons on the Southern African wintering grounds of the 21st April, 2015. For an updated map click on the image above.

While the tagged “redfoots” are about to leave to their breeding territories, the first birds are already home. On the 31st March an adult male was seen near Orosháza (Hungary), quite close to the Romanian border, and on the 20th April the first falcons were observed in Western Romania, in a breeding colony near Chi?ineu Cri? (Arad County).


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