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Migration routes and staging areas of Abdim's Storks <i>Ciconia abdimii</i> identified by satellite telemetry

Flemming Pagh Jensen
Knud Falk
Bo Svenning Petersen


This paper presents the results of a satellite tracking study of seven adult Abdim's Storks Ciconia abdimii that were followed from the nesting areas in southern Niger across the equator to the non-breeding range and back. Post-breeding migration started between early November and early December when all birds migrated directly to an area south of Lake Victoria in Tanzania, where they arrived between late November and early January. One bird moved to Zimbabwe for 2.5 months before returning to Tanzania; this bird returned to the same place in Zimbabwe the following year. The other tagged storks remained in northern Tanzania, suggesting that this region (at least in 2003–2004) is more important as a wintering area for the species than previously thought. While in Tanzania and Zimbabwe, most storks were almost completely stationary. Prenuptial migration started during mid-February, when one stork moved to the Central African Republic (CAR). The other storks moved to northern Uganda in mid-March and four continued into southern Sudan in mid-April, following the progression of the Intertropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). Final migration towards Niger started between early April and early May, when the storks returned to the nests of the previous year in mid-May, almost simultaneously with the first major rainfall. Storks from the same village differed widely in migration strategy. Post-breeding maximum migration speed was between 216km/day and 307km/day, while migration was generally faster on the last leg of the return trip to the nest, with a maximum of 456km/day.

Ostrich 2006, 77(3&4): 210–219

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eISSN: 1727-947X
print ISSN: 0030-6525