19 Dec 2013

Amur Falcons tracked to Africa

By Martin Fowlie

Three Amur Falcons have been tracked by satellite from Nagaland in India to Africa. The study carried out by MME (BirdLife in Hungary) and the Convention on Migratory Species has shed further light on what an amazing journey these birds take. These Amur  were among thousands saved this year by an international effort to stop trapping in this remote area of north-east India.

"Long distance movement of Amur falcon from Siberia to southern Africa with a few week's stop in India further proves the importance of protecting these small raptors in India, particularly in Nagaland. As the Chief Minister has written, Amur Falcons are really our guests, who need our protection during their stay in India", said Dr Asad Rahmani. Director of BNHS (BirdlIfe in India)

After leaving Nagaland the birds flew out over the Bay of Bengal, then over central India. Next was a non-stop flight over the Indian ocean, to presumably coincide with the annual migration of dragonflies from India to East Africa.

Once they made landfall, the birds headed south. One has made it as far as South Africa, where it will now spend the northern winter.

“The Amur Falcon faces many threats, including on its non-breeding grounds in South Africa. BirdLife South Africa, through its IBA Programme, is addressing these threats through the protection of the grassland habitats on which this falcon is dependent", said Mark Anderson, Chief Executive of BirdLife South Africa (BirdLife Partner).