||The Black Stork (Cicona nigra), a rare and en-dangered species
in many countries, has reoccupied central and western Europe in recent decades.
Its westbound drift has revitalized a migration route via Gibraltar. To
gain more information about the species and its migrations, we set up the
African Odyssey project, with help from Czech Radio, the National Museum
in Prague and many sponsors.
A ground expedition followed one of three Argos+VHF tagged birds from
its breeding place near Prague through Germany, France, Spain, Morocco,
the Western Sahara and Mauritania to the eastern Senegal/Mali region. The
expedition also tracked the second bird in eastern Chad. New, faster, more
accurate processing of Argos data, and faultless operation of all three
Microwave PTTs, GPS, Inmarsat satellite telephone and other equipment, made
it easy to track the birds and collect unique data.
||Migration routes of Black Storks
One couple and one female flew from their breeding sites between August
24 and September 17, using different migration routes: via Gibraltar, the
Dardanelles, and the Bosphorus. The times and distances on their way to
wintering areas were as follows:
|| Numbers of days of the migration
|| Straight-line distance (km)|
In the wintering grounds, the birds rested in very restricted areas,
using just a few small water bodies. As the weather became drier, the storks
moved further south, the maximum straight line distances from their nests
now reaching 4652, 4740 and 5320 km. While flying over the Sahara, they
covered up to 476 km a day. Daily migration distances were usually between
150 and 350 km. The birds did not follow the sea coasts but were observed
inland, often crossing hilly country and even mountain ranges.