Unusual clockwise loop migration lengthens travel distances and increases potential risks for a central Asian, long distance, trans-equatorial migrant, the Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus

Bird Study
By: , and 

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Abstract

Capsule: Red-footed Falcons Falco vespertinus migrating from northern Kazakhstan proceed west before heading south to Africa; their northbound travel follows a different route with passage close to shooting hotspots in the Mediterranean.

Aim: To use tracking and ringing data to document for the first time the migration of globally threatened Red-footed Falcons from northern Kazakhstan.

Methods: Light-level geolocators were deployed on breeding adults in Kazakhstan and recovered one year later. Ringing and observational data from more than 100 years of Russian-language and other literature were summarized and mapped alongside the geolocator data.

Results: Geolocator, ringing and observational data together demonstrate that Red-footed Falcons from northern Kazakhstan have a clockwise loop migration that begins with a long and unusual westward trek around eastern Europe’s large inland seas before continuing to extreme southern Africa. Return migration is farther west and requires crossing two major migratory barriers: the Sahara and the Mediterranean.

Conclusion: The loop migration we describe requires an extensive longitudinal movement, exposes central Asian Red-footed Falcons to multiple desert, mountain and marine crossings, and, at outbound and return Mediterranean bottlenecks, crosses sites where raptor shooting is common.

Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Unusual clockwise loop migration lengthens travel distances and increases potential risks for a central Asian, long distance, trans-equatorial migrant, the Red-footed Falcon Falco vespertinus
Series title Bird Study
DOI 10.1080/00063657.2016.1214107
Volume 63
Issue 3
Year Published 2016
Language English
Publisher Taylor & Francis
Contributing office(s) Forest and Rangeland Ecosystem Science Center
Description 7 p.
First page 406
Last page 412