Short-toed eagle tracking

This project began in the 2010 from a collaboration between the Vertebrate Zoology Group at the University of Alicante (Spain) and the Regional Park  Gallipoli-Cognato Piccole Dolomiti Lucane (Italy), involving MEDRAPTORS members since the beginning. Between the 2010 and the 2013 seven young eagles have been tagged, confirming previous results on the detoured route through the Iberian peninsula (see references below).

A resume of the main results is available here.

One of these eagles, Egidio, reached adulthood and bred successfully in the 2019 while still transmitting data. We tagged his son, Michele, in collaboration with Techno Smart. Follow their movements in the maps below.


19/11/2019: we are not receiving data from Michele since a couple of weeks. The GPS used with this eagle uses the GSM network to transmit the data. Probably he did not cross anymore areas with mobile coverage and therefore we will have to wait several weeks or months to know the whereabouts of Michele. However, we are confident that he is already exploring his wintering grounds in the Sahel.

30/10/2019: finally Michele crossed the Strait of Gibraltar, in a calm day with weak westerly winds!

28/10/2019: Michele stopped for some days in the steppes of la Serena (Extremadura), where he probably had good hunting oppurtunities, thanks to the gentle temperatures. Today, he began to travel again, reaching the Sierra Morena hills close to Sevilla. Meanwhile, Egidio is already enjoying his traditional wintering area in Mali.

22/10/2019: Michele has been observed by a local ornithologist close to Burgos, also attempting to hunt some prey. Afterwords, he resumed migration, employing a couple of days to reach the Segovia area. From here, it crossed the mountains of central Spain, finally showing a good migration day (ca. 200 km) and entering Extremadura. Instead, Egidio is already flying over the endless sands of Mauritania.

17/9: while Egidio crossed already the Strait of Gibraltar, and is about to enter in the Sahara desert, Michele is still in Northern Spain, close to Burgos, delayed by bad weather. In the last three days he moved in a quite restricted area. Hopefully he found some tasteful snakes!

11/9: finally Michele decided to avoid the Pyrenees, and is roosting just besides the border. Almost certainly it will enter in Spain tomorrow passing close to San Sebastian. Instead, Egidio is a bit North of Valencia.

9/10: turn of events! Egidio is now ahead of Michele: while the father is migrating quickly and is about to enter Spain, his son is still around Toulouse. Such speed difference between age classes is not unexpected, and moreover Egidio is at his 7th autumn migration and therefore is aided by a very good experience.

5/10/2019: finally we got new data that show that Egidio (purple,track, map below) started to migrate on the 2/10. Now, he is already in Liguria. Meanwhile, Michele crossed the Alps throug valle Stura di Demonte (Cuneo) and entered to France.

2/10/2019: it seems that now Michele is migrating straightly towards the North. Instead, Egidio is still in the breeding territory. Michele spent the night between Trasimeno lake and Orvieto.

28/9/2019: unexpectedly, Michele started to migrate before his father Egidio, which is still around the nest. As it is flying mainly towards the North, we suspect he has been following another adult during at least some steps (his mother or another individual already on migration). However, anything may happen in the next days.

The reproduction or citation of the contents of this website, including maps and descriptions, is forbidden without the written permission of MEDRAPTORS.


Agostini N., Baghino L., Coleiro C., Corbi F. & Premuda G. 2002. Circuitous autumn migration in the Short-toed Eagle (Circaetus gallicus). Journal of Raptor Research 36: 111-114

Mellone U., Limiñana, R., Mallìa E. & Urios V. 2011. Extremely detoured migration in an inexperienced bird: interplay of transport costs and social interactions. Journal of Avian Biology 42: 468-472

Mellone U., Lucia G., Mallìa E., Urios V., 2016. Individual variation in orientation promotes a 3000-km latitudinal change in wintering grounds in a long-distance migratory raptor. Ibis DOI: 10.1111/ibi.12401

Panuccio, M., Agostini, N. & Premuda, G. 2012. Ecological barriers promote risk minimization and social learning in migrating short-toed snake eagles. Ethology Ecology and Evolution 24: 74-80.

Black Kites movements

We are studying the movements of Black kites breeding in Italy to identify migratory flyways, stopover and wintering sites as well as intra-specific interactions.

We use GPS-GSM recording one fix every ten minutes. Up to now we tagged juveniles from the breeding population of Cental Italy.

This project is a result of a collaboration with Ornis italica and the eco-ethology laboratory at the University of Pavia

Strait of Messina Bird Observatory

We would like to establish a permanent bird Observatory on the Strait of Messina to run long term observation and monitoring of migrating birds.

The Observatory watchsites are located on the continental side of the Strait of Messina, on the Aspromonte highland (contrada S. Pietro, Solano, and Mount San Angelo). The fact that bird migration occurs both in spring and autumn and covers at least six months per year makes this site particularly suitable for an ornithological observatory.

So far there are no structures specifically dedicated to the observation activities. Birdwatchers, professional ornithologists, scientists and passionate people rely on the housing facilities of the nearby village of Gambarie (1’300 m asl) and commute every day to the observation points. In spring the field season starts around March 15, when the first marsh harriers arrive and ends at the end of May. The observers spend the whole day outdoor, 1000 m asl, where sometimes is cold and windy or very sunny and hot.

It is ongoing as a collaboration between Ornis italica (Ornis italica) and MEDRAPTORS.
Take a look to the website of the project: straitobservatory

Migrating Raptors Project 2004-2018

In 2004 LIPU/BirdLife started the “Migrating Raptors Project” that is still going on. MEDRAPTORS collaborated coordinating the observations at the Strait of Messina and in the islands of Marettimo, Panarea and Ustica. We participated at the project through data analysis and papers writing. As one of the main result, the data collected showed that migrating Honey Buzzards crossing the central Mediterranean during spring can change their routes using tailwinds to perform long sea-crossings.