Over the last two years, a bird of prey made a stunning journey of some 29,000 kilometers (18,020 miles) from Central Asia all the way to Africa, all as part of its regular migratory flight path.
The odyssey of the pallid harrier spanning 13 countries was caught by a GPS tracker attached by Turkish scientists.
The bird specimen was caught as part of bird-ringing research done in collaboration between Istanbul’s Koc University and the US University of Utah as well the General Directorate of Nature Conversation and National Parks in Igdir, eastern Turkiye and the Kuzeydoga Association.
Once a GPS tracker was attached to a leg of the pallid harrier, it was released back to nature and its lengthy migration pattern was observed by officials.
Upon its release, the predatory bird flew over Armenia, Georgia, and Russia and spent the summer in the Central Asian nation of Kazakhstan, which is its natural breeding ground.
With summer ending, the bird flew over Turkish territories within a single day and crossed into Syria where it spent a month. Next, the bird winged it to the West African nation of Nigeria, and it flew across several countries in both the Middle East and Africa, including Jordan, Israel, Egypt, Sudan, Chad, and Cameroon.
The bird of prey spent the whole winter of 2022 in Dusuman, Nigeria, then set off northwards once again. It is currently flying over Egypt and is expected to eventually make its way back to Kazakhstan.
According to data from its GPS tracker, it has covered a length of some 29,000 km (18,020 mi.) during the course of its two-year-long migration, boasting a top-flight altitude of 3,011 meters (9,878 feet), with an average speed of 86 kilometers per hour (53 mph).