Conservation measures based on migration research in whitestorks (Ciconia ciconia, Ciconia boyciana)

White Stork (Ciconia ciconia) Science Article 6


For over a decade, we have been using satellite tracking to study the migration of white storks (Ciconia ciconia) alongtheir eastern migration route from Europe to southern Africa. About 120 individuals have been monitored by satellite-trackingto determine the route of the journey, choice of staging areas and overwintering patterns. Satellite-tracking not only confirmedmigration routes formerly elucidated by ringing but also enabled us to detect new routes to western Sudan and Chad andidentify large staging areas in this region. The most important results of the tracking are the identification of 15 major stagingareas during migration and wintering, for which specific conservation measures are being implemented in a ‘stepping-stone’project in accord with the Bonn Convention. We have also investigated the migration physiology and stopover-site ecology ofthe storks. Because storks migrate to northeastern Africa with minimal fat stores and very low food intake, resting areas on thissector of their route, are currently in greater need of protection than feeding grounds. In a second, smaller study, oriental whitestorks (Ciconia boyciana) are being tracked from Siberia to locate their overwintering grounds in China, and identify andimplement appropriate conservation measures for this species.

Peter Berthold, Willem van den Bossche, Mich l Kaatz, Ulrich Querner, Acta Zoologica Sinica 52(Supplement): 211-214, 2006

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