Third International Scientific and Practical Conference “Eagles of the Palearctic: Study and Conservation”

Raptors Conservation. Suppl. 2. Proceedings of Conferences

Wintering Steppe Eagle in Hurghada (Egypt) from 2016 till 2022

Habib M.I. (Red Sea Association for Environment and Water sports, Hurghada, Egypt)

Mohamed Ibrahim Habib
Recommended citation: Habib M.I. Wintering Steppe Eagle in Hurghada (Egypt) from 2016 till 2022. – Raptors Conservation. 2023. S2: 271–272. DOI: 10.19074/1814-8654-2023-2-271-272 URL:

The East African-Eurasian flyway is one of the most important routes for migratory soaring birds in the world. Each spring and autumn 37 species of migratory soaring birds navigate this flyway, with over a million birds passing through the larger bottlenecks. Soaring birds are almost entirely dependent on updrafts to sustain their migratory flight. This dictates and vastly reduces their choice of migration routes and funnels them along very narrow migration ‘corridors’. The lack of updrafts over large bodies of water prevents them from crossing seas, except at the narrowest of straits. Because of this, birds transit between Sinai and African Egypt by flying over land north of the Gulf of Suez, mostly between the town of Suez and the Great Bitter Lake. Steppe Eagle (Aquila nipalensis), which is considered endangered, is almost entirely dependent on updrafts to sustain its migration flight. This species has undergone extremely rapid population declines within its European range. The majority of its range lies outside Europe, where it was not thought to be declining at a sufficiently rapid rate to approach the threshold for Vulnerable. However, recent information suggests that the population outside Europe may be exposed to greater threats than was previously thought, and that it also has undergone very rapid declines recently. The study aims to understand the ecology of aggregations of Steppe Eagle (outside breeding range) at dumping sites along the narrow migration corridors of the flyway at the Egyptian Red Sea coast during a time after the coast had been developed for tourism. Aggregating of eight Steppe Eagles were first observed at the Hurghada garbage tip on 10 December 2019; the aggregation that winter reached its peak in February 2020, when 1000 individuals were seen, mainly adults. In December 2021, 2100 individuals were observed, and in March 2022 there were 8000 to 10000 individuals, including 130 juveniles. During visits to the Cairo bird markets on October 6, 2022, I saw 10 Steppe Eagles for sale.