Satellite-tracked Spanish Imperial Eagles in Morocco

By MaghrebOrnitho | 19 October 2015

As part of a reintroduction project of Spanish Imperial Eagle (Aquila adalberti) to Cadiz area, Andalusia that started 10 years ago, Junta de Andalucía have released about 90 birds in south of Cadiz, and thus managed to create a new breeding population in this area (the species went extinct there for decades). Tracking project is done with the collaboration of the researchers of Doñana Biological Station (EBD-CSIC) which are responsible for fitting the eagles with the GPS transmitters. This year, six eagles were fitted with GPS-GSM transmitters, and four of the eagles born in Cadiz have crossed the Strait of Gibraltar to Morocco. A male born in Doñana and a female born in Sierra Morena were also crossed to Morocco. These eagles are in the following Moroccan regions: Boumalne Dades, Tiznit, Guelmim and south of Tan-Tan. The eagle ringed in Doñana has already returned to Spain.

One of the tracked eagles, colour-ringed with ‘6M’ is in the south-west of Guelmim. The position of this bird does not seem to move, so it’s either the eagle was injured or the transmitter was lost.

Jose Rafael Garrido, Director of ‘Wildlife Monitoring and Management Programmes’ (Junta de Andalucía) informed us that they have already had some information of immature Spanish Imperial Eagles recorded in the wider region of Guelmim during the last years, and he thinks that this region could be a good dispersion area for young Spanish Imperial Eagles.

Regarding the eagle ‘6M’ who does not seem to move, our friend Ali Irizi is set to go to search for the eagle and/or the transmitter, and found out what happened. We wish him good luck!


  • On 22 October, the tracked eagle ‘6M’ was found electrocuted along with two other Spanish Imperial Eagles and one Golden Eagle on the same pylon. One Bonelli’s Eagle found electrocuted underneath a different pylon.
  • On 7 November, Ali Irizi returned to the area and found four different Bonelli’s Eagles electrocuted underneath pylons located on the same power line. He also returned to the region on 5 December where he found two other Bonelli’s Eagles electrocuted underneath one pylon on the same power line. The details about these electrocutions are in the following report (PDF):

Amezian, M., Irizi, A., Errati, A., Loran, H., El Khamlichi, R., Morandini, V., González, D. G., Garrido, J. R. 2015. Spanish Imperial Eagles and other eagles found electrocuted in Morocco and proposition of correction measures. figshare.

Spanish Imperial Eagle with GPS transmitter, Photo: Consejería de Medio Ambiente y Ordenación del Territorio, Junta de Andalucía.

Spanish Imperial Eagle with GPS transmitter, Photo: Consejería de Medio Ambiente y Ordenación del Territorio, Junta de Andalucía.

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