Sunday 2 January 2011

Who knows where Libyan cranes come from?

Common crane are not uncommon in winter in Libya contrary to almost all bird guides which don't show them in Libya on their maps. 

The UN winter wetland counts often find 100 - 200 birds - usually on the Bay of Sirt (sometimes called Bay of Sidra). However they have seen them inland at Houn too. I, of course, saw 4 birds deep in the desert on a government farm.

But do we know where they have come from?  They winter much further west in Morocco and eastward all across the southern Mediterranean. I had assumed that Libyan birds would not come from the western populations in Finland but from those further east. 

common crane at Jalu in the middle of the Sahara on a farm

Then I came across this information (see below) on the web written by Petri Suorsa on behalf of Satellite crane 2010. Its about a Finnish crane called Renttima which has had a tracking device fitted. It spent part of last winter in Libya. I have to warn you that other Finnish birds didn't come to Libya!

Renttimä is an adult Eurasian crane that was captured by Matti Tolvanen and fitted with a satellite transmitter by Matti Suopajärvi in Savukoski –municipality, Finland in the spring of 2008. The location data of Renttimä has so far proved that Finnish cranes are able to overwinter in the Balkans, more precisely at Slano Kopovo, N-Serbia and at Jelas Polje, Croatia. More importantly the same individual crane may drastically alter its between-year migration tactics as shown by Renttimä who revealed a new overwintering area for Finnish cranes from N-Libya by the S shore of the Gulf of Sirdra in 2009-2010. Further, in the spring of 2010 the crane returned via the Adriatic flyway and stopped over in Montenegro which is a new staging area for Finish cranes. The transmitter of Renttimä should have ¼ of the transmission hours left. We should thus be able to monitor a good deal of the third forthcoming migration season 2010-2011.

If you want more information try

It looks like crane movements are quite complicated. We cannot assume western populations end up at the western end of the wintering range. I hope I don't have to wait long for more information.


  1. Dear Robert
    thank you for this information about Common crane
    see you soon
    Jaber yahya

  2. Jaber

    No problem. I try to post anything I find out about tracking or ringing. I have got a couple more posts to come on these subjects. i hope you like them too!

    see you soon