Identification of greater spotted eagle flyways and wintering grounds

Identification of greater spotted eagle flyways and wintering grounds
Greater Spotted Eagle fledgling. Photo by V. N. Melnikov.

Greater spotted eagle is a large bird of prey whose range is almost completely within the borders of Russia. It is a rare, sporadically distributed and protected species. In the last 50 years the number of spotted eagles decreased as a result of swamps and floodplain meadows drainage. European population whose number is less than a thousand pairs is listed in the Russian Red Book.

Greater spotted eagles usually nest in old swamped sticky alder forest near dead arms of rivers, floodplain meadows and swamps. Detrimental factors affecting this species have an impact not only in nesting sites but also at stopovers during flights and wintering sites. However, little is still known about the timing and and ways of flights as well as modern wintering sites of these birds of prey. To fill this knowledge gap, BirdsRussia started work on tagging greated spotted eagle nestlings with GPS-GSM transmitters a few days before they leave their nests. The work is conducted as part of a longstanding project on peatbog restoration with financial support of

The foundation Manfred-Hermsen-Stiftung for Nature Conservation and Environmental Protection (Manfred-Hermsen-Stiftung für natur und umwelt).

The purchase of transmitters and work on tagging the spotted eagles were sponsored by NABU International - Foundation for Nature.

Кормовой участок большого подорлика в заказнике Журавлиная Родина - для заставки.JPGIn 2019 we equipped four nestlings with transmitters: two in "Crane Land" reserve, another one in "Klyazmensky" reserve in Ivanovo region and the fourth one in "Klyazmensko-Lukhsky" reserve in Vladimir region. Although the work on the project has started only recently,  we have already got the first results. Tagging with transmitters helped us find out that the nature of territory use in the post-nesting period, the timing of the start and ways of migration of different birds differ slightly.

In the beginning of October 2019 our young spotted eagles were on the way to the wintering sites: two of them in the south of Russia, one in Georgia and one in Turkey.

We are planning to continue tagging greater spotted eagles with transmitters in the following years.

Project coordinators:  Alexander Leonidovich Mishchenko ( and Olga Sergeevna Grinchenko (


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