Skip to main content

How far away in an hour? Daily movements of juvenile golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) tracked with satellite telemetry


We tracked the daily movements of three juvenile golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) using satellite telemetry. Straight distances covered in an hour and throughout a day were calculated. Daily movements of golden eagles are mostly characterized by short-distance excursions, with 64% of the distances covered in an hour shorter than 1 km and 95% shorter than 9 km. Both the longest movements and the largest proportion of long-distance movements, were concentrated between 1100 and 1800 hours, the peak of daily activities. Average hourly distances during that peak oscillated between 2 and 6 km, with records of more than 20 km. Distances covered in a day ranged between 0.1 and 53.2 km with an average of 14.0 km (SD=13.4). Differences in the distances covered at different times of the day probably reflect a balance between the temporal pattern of preferred prey’s activity and the eagles’ progressive satiation along the day on one hand, and the higher likelihood of thermal and updraughts (which facilitate long-distance movements) occurring at noon and the early afternoon, on the other.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2


  • Bullock JM, Kenward RE, Hails RS (eds) (2001) Dispersal ecology. Blackwell, Oxford

  • Clobert J, Danchin E, Dhont AA, Nichols J (eds) (2001) Dispersal—causes, consequences and mechanisms of dispersal at the individual, population and community level. Oxford University Press, Oxford

  • Haller H (1982) Raumorganisation und Dynamik einer Population des Steinadlers Aquila chrysaetos in den Zentralalpen. Ornithol Beob 79:163–211

    Google Scholar 

  • Haller H (1994) Der Steinadler Aquila chrysaetos als Brutvogel im schweizerischen Alpenvorland: Ausbreitungstendenzen und ihre populations - ökologischen Grundlagen. Ornithol Beob 91:237–254

    Google Scholar 

  • Haller H (1996) Der Steinadler in Graubünden. Langfristige Untersuchungen zur Populationsökologie von Aquila chrysaetos im Zentrum der Alpen. Ornithol Beob Beiheft 9:1–167

    Google Scholar 

  • Kenward RE (2001) A manual for wildlife radio tagging. Academic Press, London

    Google Scholar 

  • Newton I (1979) Population ecology of raptors. Poyser, Berkhamsted

    Google Scholar 

  • Sanderson GC (1966) The study of mammal movements—a review. J Wildl Manag 30:215–235

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Soutullo A, Urios V, Ferrer M, Peñarrubia SG (2005a) Post-fledging behaviour in golden eagles: onset of the juvenile dispersal and progressive distancing from the nest. Ibis (in press)

  • Soutullo A, Urios V, Ferrer M, Peñarrubia SG (2005b) Dispersal of golden eagles Aquila chrysaetos during their first year of life. Bird Study (in press)

  • Sutherland WJ (1996) From individual behaviour to population ecology. Oxford University Press, Oxford

    Google Scholar 

  • Walker DG (1987) Observations on the post-fledging period of the golden eagle Aquila chrysaetos in England. Ibis 129:92–96

    Article  Google Scholar 

  • Watson J (1997) The golden eagle. Poyser, London

    Google Scholar 

Download references


Thanks are due to the Conselleria de Territori i Habitatge of the Generalitat Valenciana (P. Mateache, M. Romanillos and A. Izquierdo), and to Luis Cadahía for his collaboration in the fieldwork and the retrieval of the data. This paper is part of A.S.’s Ph.D. thesis at the Universidad de Alicante.

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding author

Correspondence to Alvaro Soutullo.

Additional information

Communicated by F. Bairlein

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Soutullo, A., Urios, V. & Ferrer, M. How far away in an hour? Daily movements of juvenile golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos) tracked with satellite telemetry. J Ornithol 147, 69–72 (2006).

Download citation

  • Received:

  • Revised:

  • Accepted:

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


  • Aquila chrysaetos
  • Distance
  • Dispersal
  • Movements
  • Satellite telemetry