Eagles tagged in Oman spent summers in Central Asia
February 12, 2018 | 9:33 PM
by Maqsood Maniyar/[email protected]
ESO says that the two steppe eagles tagged in January last year visited countries such as Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan during the summer.

Muscat: A tagging programme involving the Environment Society of Oman (ESO) has revealed the migratory pattern of the endangered steppe eagles that spend winters in Oman.

ESO revealed that the two steppe eagles they tagged in January last year spent their summer in Central Asia and visited countries such as Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. They added that the birds travelled to and settled in southeast and central Saudi Arabia in winter last year.

“Tracking provides the first detailed information on the migratory behaviour of steppe eagles that spend the winter in Oman. The eagles we tracked migrated to and through countries such as Iraq, Iran and Turkmenistan and spent their summers in Central Asia,” an official ESO statement read.

Moreover, ESO revealed that they have also tagged a rare hybrid lesser spotted eagle and 17 endangered Egyptian vultures, so far.

The findings are a part of ESO’s collaborative raptor tagging programme, which has been in existence since 2014. The International Avian Research and the Bernd Meyburg Foundation for Raptor Research and Conservation are also a part of the tagging programme.

“In 2017, 11 tags were provided by the Bernd Meyburg Foundation for Raptor Research and Conservation and three from other sponsors, and they were successfully fitted,” it added.

“The focus in the coming years may shift somewhat towards steppe eagles because we are currently tracking a good number of vultures. Trapping these species, however, can be difficult. So, we take what we can get,” the statement read.

ESO has also been tracking Egyptian vultures. It is, however, not yet clear whether they are from the local population.

“Egyptian vultures migrate to Oman from farther north, but there is a resident population as well. Breeding areas for Egyptian vultures in Oman are mostly in the northern mountains and on Masirah Island,” the statement noted

So far, the vultures we have tracked for more than a year have not migrated, and so are either resident birds or young birds that may migrate once they mature. We hope that some birds tagged in January are migrants. If so, they might start migration in March,” the statement noted.

ESO has also rescued three Egyptian vultures from private zoos in Bahrain, where they were kept illegally and in poor conditions. The operation was conducted in collaboration with Raptors Rehab (Bahrain), the Ministry of Environment and Climate Affairs, and Oman Air.

The tagging programme is expected to yield findings that will help research and conservation plans for endangered bird species.

“A multi-species action plan for many endangered vulture species and a flyway action plan for Egyptian vultures have been drafted and are being implemented. Tagging results help us understand the movement of these species and their relationship with human activities,” the statement added.

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