Complementing the puzzle of Eleonora's Falcon (Falco eleonorae) migration: New evidence from an eastern colony in the Aegean Sea
SourceJournal of Ornithology
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Eleonora's Falcon (Falco eleonorae) is an endemic breeder of the Mediterranean Sea and the Canary Islands that overwinters in Madagascar and surrounding areas. Recent telemetry studies have revealed the migratory journey of falcons from the western and central Mediterranean breeding colonies. Our study complements the puzzle of the species' migration providing data from an eastern Mediterranean breeding colony. In this paper, we describe for the first time the migratory routes of four falcons originating from the Aegean Sea, the core of the species' breeding range. We tracked two adults and two immature siblings to their wintering grounds in Madagascar. According to our results, the timing of migration was consistent with previous studies. Our findings also suggest that the falcons adjust their flight speed according to the environmental conditions encountered en route, by accelerating during open-sea and desert crossings and by slowing down in potential foraging areas. Moreover, the selection of common staging areas, both among the two siblings and among the two adults, highlights the role of these areas in the migratory cycle of the species. Finally, according to the home-range analysis on the wintering grounds, space use was rather variable across the four tracked falcons. Still, the falcons were more frequently observed within the submontane forest, one of the last patches of primary rainforest in Madagascar. Thus, future studies aiming at unveiling the ecological requirements of the species in its wintering quarters are considered as top priority. © Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2012.