Zoological Studies

Vol. 48 No. 1, 2009

Autumn Migration of Eleonora’s Falcon Falco eleonorae Tracked by Satellite Telemetry

Pascual López-López1,2,*, Rubén Limiñana2, and Vicente Urios2

1Cavanilles Institute of Biodiversity and Evolutionary Biology, Terrestrial Vertebrates Group, University of Valencia, Polígono de la Coma s/n, 46980 Paterna, Valencia, Spain
2Estación Biológica Terra Natura CIBIO – Fundación Terra Natura, University of Alicante, Apdo, 99 E-03080, Alicante, Spain

Pascual López-López, Rubén Limiñana, and Vicente Urios (2009) The migration route of Eleonora's Falcon Falco eleonorae has largely been a mystery.  To date, the most widely accepted hypothesis on Eleonora,s Falcon’s migration suggested a coastal route through the Mediterranean Sea eastwards, crossing the Suez Canal, and proceeding southwards through the Red Sea following the East coast of Africa to the wintering grounds in Madagascar and the Mascarene Is.  This study provides the first description of autumn migration routes of 2 Eleonora's Falcons (a juvenile male and an adult male) tracked by satellite telemetry from their breeding colonies in the Western Mediterranean to their wintering grounds in southeastern Africa.  Contrary to previous suggestions, Eleonora's Falcons migrated inland across the African continent and did not follow the presumed migration route across the Mediterranean Sea.  We discuss the possible origin of this migratory behavior and provide data on routes, timing of migration, and scarce existing data of ringing recoveries.

Key words: Satellite tracking, Conservation, Madagascar, Falcons, STAT.

*Correspondence: Tel: 34-96-3543660.  Fax: 34-96-3543670.   E-mail:Pascual.Lopez@uv.es; lopez.pascual@gmail.com