Autumn migration of the Spanish Imperial Eagle in 2017

By | 2 December 2017

Dispersion and overwintering of Spanish Imperial Eagles (Aquila adalberti) in Morocco and northern Africa in general is becoming regular and in relatively good numbers (for an endangered ‘sedentary’ species). As in previous years, this autumn at least 4 eagles crossed the Strait of Gibraltar to North Africa. We say “at least” because not every bird can be seen during migration at the Strait, and probably there are other birds tracked by satellite (from other Spanish regions or Portugal) we don’t know about. Here are the 4 birds we know so far this season:

– A First-year bird photographed just after crossing the Strait at Dalia, neat Tanger-Med port on 12 September (Rachid El Khamlichi).

– A bird photographed at the same place on 6 October, also just after crossing the Strait (Rachid)

– A first-year bird photographed on 11 November, same as above (Rachid). These three birds are shown in photos 1, 2 and 3 respectively.

– A bird satellite-tracked in Andalucía crossed the Strait in September. The bird travelled from northern Morocco, Algeria, the Atlas Mountains, the Sahara, Guelmim and then went northwards to the Atlantic coast between Casablanca and Rabat. Here, after information exchange about its position, Karim Rousselon was able to locate and photograph it on 27 October (photos 4 & 5). What a great traveller!

Jose Rafael Garrido, the coordinator of the conservation project of the species in the Government of Andalusia, added: “This young bird was released this year in the south of Spain (Cadiz region) by the Government of Andalusia with 5 other birds in the framework of the conservation project of the species. It was rescued from the nest in northern Andalusia because of the risk of death from lack of food and was released in June”.

Thanks to J. R. Garrido, K. Rousselon and R. El Khamlichi for the information and the photos!

Read (English summary):

Morandini, V., Florencio, C., Garrido, J. R., Muñoz, F., de Diego, S., González, M., Torralvo, C. & Ferrer, M. 2016. Aguila imperial ibérica: recuperando espacio más allá de las fronterasQuercus (361): 24–29.

Spanish Imperial Eagle / Aigle ibérique (Aquila adalberti), near Tanger-Med port, 12 September 2017 (Rachid El Khamlichi).

Spanish Imperial Eagle / Aigle ibérique (Aquila adalberti), near Tanger-Med port, 12 Sep. 2017 (Rachid El Khamlichi).

Spanish Imperial Eagle, near Tanger-Med port, 6 October 2017 (Rachid El Khamlichi).

Spanish Imperial Eagle / Aigle ibérique (Aquila adalberti), near Tanger-Med port, 11 November 2017 (Rachid El Khamlichi).

Spanish Imperial Eagle, near Tanger-Med port, 11 November 2017 (Rachid El Khamlichi).

Satellite-tracked Spanish Imperial Eagle / Aigle ibérique (Aquila adalberti), Bouznika area, 27 October 2017 (Karim Rousselon)

Satellite-tracked Spanish Imperial Eagle, Bouznika area, 27 October 2017 (Karim Rousselon).

Satellite-tracked Spanish Imperial Eagle / Aigle ibérique (Aquila adalberti), Bouznika area, 27 October 2017 (Karim Rousselon)

Satellite-tracked Spanish Imperial Eagle, Bouznika area, 27 October 2017 (Karim Rousselon).

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