- Ranging Behaviour of Verreaux’s Eagles during the Pre-Breeding Period Determined through the Use of High Temporal Resolution Tracking
- PLoS One
- Volume | Issue number
- 11 | 10
- Article number
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Science (FNWI)
- Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED)
Information on movement ecology is key in understanding the drivers and limitations of life history traits and has a potential role in indicating environmental change. Currently we have a limited understanding of the parameters of movement of territory-bound raptors, which are sensitive to environmental change. In this study we used GPS tracking technology to
obtain spatially (within 3 m) and temporally (c. 3 mins) high-resolution movement data on a small sample of Verreaux's eagle Aquila verreauxii during the pre-laying period (n = 4) with one additional example during the chick rearing period. We present GPS-derived home range estimates for this species and we examine temporal (timing, duration, frequency and speed) and spatial (total path length and maximum distance from nest) patterns of trips away from the nest. For eagles tagged in the agriculturally developed Sandveld region (n =
3), which is made up of a mosaic of land use types, we also undertook a habitat selection analysis. Home ranges were small and largely mutually exclusive. Trip activity was centred around midday, which is likely to be related to lift availability. Our habitat selection analysis found that eagles selected for near-natural and degraded habitat over natural or completely modified areas, suggesting that these eagles may have benefitted from some of the agricultural
development in this region. Although our sample sizes are small, the resolution of our tracking data was essential in deriving this data over a relatively short time period and paves the way for future research.
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