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Aves, 40/1-4 | 2003 | 118-119

  Migration patterns of Black Storks (Ciconia nigra) from the Csech Republic as revealed by satellite and VHF telemetry.
Bobek, M., Simek, J., Pojer, F. & Peske, L.

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Article summary

Six adult males and four adult females Black Storks together with six young males and two young females were fitted with satellite (PTT) and VHF transmitters in the Czech Republic in 1995-2000. All but one young were members of completely monitored families. The tracked storks (if not dead or unless transmitters failed) spent the winter period in Africa, in a belt south of sahara; only one bird wintered in southern Spain. At least part of the migration journey of four adult birds was repeatedly monitored, in one case even in four consecutive seasons. The tracked storks used both the south-west migration route across the Gibraltar straits (6 adults, 1 young) and the south-east route across the Bosphorus or Dardanelles straits (4 adults). A young stork tried to migrate across the Apennines peninsula, unfortunately it was shot to death in Calabria (it reached this area from Croatia by crossing the Adriatic Sea). Storks left their breeding grounds during a broad period from mid-August till mid-September and they arrived to sub-Saharan wintering grounds from late September till early December; migration itself took from 5 to 15 weeks. Young left the breeding grounds independently of their parents. Nevertheless it is very probably that, at least in one case, siblings left the breeding area together. Both members of breeding pairs left breeding grounds and migrated independently; even along the different migration routes. Migration velocity of adult birds in Europe or Asia was slower and with more several-day or several-weeks stopovers that in total were longer on the south-east route (mainly on the Balkans peninsula) than one the south-west one. Migration in Africa was quicker and when crossing Sahara, migration velocity over 400 km per day was found few times. Negative influence course was confirmed in several cases (e.g., delayed crossing of the Pyrenees or few hundrer kilometres of reverse migration in case of sandstrom in Sahara). The monitored storks repeatdly showed a strong winter site fidelity. Nevertheless, their migration route in particular years war not identical (e.g., crossing the Pyrenees at their western or eastern edge). Storks left their main wintering grounds from mid-February to late March and reached the breeding sites from late March and reached the breeding sites from late March till late May; migration itself took from 5 to 10 weeks. Similarly to the autumn migration, longer stopovers were recorded in Europe or in Asia. The shortest and longest flight distance between breeding area and main wintering ground in Africa was found to be approximately 5,000 km (western Africa) and 7,000 km (Nigeria via the south-east flyway), respectively. Illegal hunting was the main threat to the tracked storks in Europe (three of them were shot in France, Italy and Spain, respectively). Lack of safe roosting sites that force the storks to roost o ground where there is an increased danger of being predated seems to be one of the main threats during migration in Africa.

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