7 Nov 2013

Irina a Satellite Tagged Sociable Lapwing - Tabuk

Irina (meaning peace) is an adult female Sociable Lapwing, who was tagged 4 June 2013 at Izendi (50.10435, 70.54905), near Korgalzhyn in Central Kazakhstan. She was colour ringed by the RSPB and ACBK with a ring combination of green over blue on her left leg and orange over white on her right leg and has a satellite tag number 123088. Irina’s amazing journey is indicated by a tourquoise pin on the map. Irinia was a breeding adult and successfully fledged her young before departing on her migration. She was caught on the nest which was located near Lake Tengiz, in central Kazakhstan, this summer. One fascinating aspect of Sociable Lapwing migration is that these birds make their journeys in a series of hops rather than in one jump. The last review of the satellite-tagged birds’ movements was made on October 28th and at that point we found Irina had pushed on south and she is now in North West Saudi Arabia near Tabuk and appears to be in an area of irrigated, agricultural pivot fields. This site has become a regular stopover/wintering site as last year Rob Tovey found a flock of ten birds nearby at Abaj in mid-November 2012 and a Satellite tagged bird from 2011 aslo stopped nearby.
Irina (turquoise line) Movemnets - Taken from the BirdLife Amazing Journey website

Previous historical records of Sociable Lapwing flocks in Saudi Arabia include 25 in 1934 and 45 in 1988. Irina’s arrival in Saudi is only the seventh record since 1950. Amazingly Rob also found a large winter flock of 35 birds near Jizan in February 2013 that may  have been wintering? Hopefully these satellite tagged birds will help us understand the status of the species in Saudi Arabia as currently it is regarded as a scarce migrant and possible winter visitor to western regions that is rare in Riyadh with only one record from the Eastern Province  of an adult at Haradh  farm 25 February 1982. Birds are also regularly see at nearby Bahrain. It will be interesting to see if Irinia stays and winters in Saudi Arabia or perhaps pushes on again and heads across the Red Sea into Africa? You can follow her progress at the excellent Amazing Journey website http://www.birdlife.org/sociable-lapwing/?cat=8 by BirdLife, RSPB and Swarovski Optik where the data reproduced here was taken from.


  1. These satellete trackers and geolocaters are a fantastc tool for the advancement of bird movements. The information yielded by a handufl of birds far outweighs the trapping and ringing with associated disturbance an stress of handling birds in my opinion. A couple of good examples has been the BTO Cuckoo ringing scheme and the Nightingales in East Anglia. With the latter a handful of birds, 1 individual in particular, provided more on the movement and feeding stopovers of this species than 20,000 birds rung in a century! Obviously there will always be a place for ringing but i do sometimes question the tactics, techniques and usefulness of some of the people participating, some of them seem to find the activity an end in itself.........

    Laurie -

    1. Laurie,

      I agree about the satellite trackers and geolocators, pity they can only be fitted to large birds. In time I suppose they will become smaller allowing small passerines to be tracked as well.