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BREAKING NEWS: Marcel has completed its travel back to home and arrived on its breeding ground in France!

20 May 2014

From the 3 december 2013 to the 21 April 2014, "Marcel" wintered within a very narrow area, some 50 kilometers south of Bamako, on the border of the Niger river.

By the 23 April, "Marcel" suddenly left the area and in less than 48 hours, flew some 1000 km, heading North, right into the Sahara desert, where he stood for at least 24 hours.


Then he arrived in Morocco by the 24 April and made a first stop over in the North of Atlas moutains,  close to the town of Beni Mellal. He left the area around the 4-5 May and reached Europe by the 6  May. He rested only a couple of days in Spain (Andalousia) and left the area by the 8 May at 20h00 (GMT), starting to fly towards France. The 11 May at 01h51 he was located in France near Angoulème, still in movement. He reached its final destination, the Chizé forest, on the same night, around 05h00. The last locations collected indicate that Marcel is back to the same place he was captured in May 2013, and forages diurnally in the fields surrounding the forest.

Since the 2 October "Jean Marie" is still located at the border between Western Sahara and Mauritania. The concentration of most of the locations in a quite small area, in such an arid region with virtually no significant food resources available is rather worrying and we suspect the bird might have die. As the Argos tag was still transmitting locations suggesting some substancial mouvements we had some hopes. But no significant movement occured to date so we officially consider now Marcel as "missing in action"...

The Argos tag of "Jacky" gave no new locations since the 20 september and "Jacky" is now considered as "missing in action"....

Avian Research Unit

Unit's research activities primarily focus on terrestrial migrants (Alaudidae, Turdidae and Columbidae) including the European Turtle Dove.


Our research interests include the following main axes: assessing populations trend, estimating demographic traits and understanding the impact of both environmental and anthropogenic factors on population dynamics.


Team: Jean-Marie Boutin (Research Engineer), Hervé Bidault (Technical officer), Cyril Eraud (Research Engineer), Sylvie Denfert-Forgeard (Secretary), Hervé Lormée (Project Engineer), Bernard Mauvy (Technician), Marcel Rivière (Bander-in-Chief), Denis Roux (Technician-in-Chief).


Organization: National Hunting & Wildlife Agency

​Research Projects
  • Population Dynamics

  • Population Trend and Size in France

  • Genetic Differentiation of European populations

  • Identifying Migration Paths and Staging areas

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