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Annual cycle

In January, birds are on their wintering grounds in Sudan, Oman and NW India. Single birds and small flocks are regularly observed in Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Iran.

In February, most birds stay in the wintering areas as mentioned above until mid-month and depart thereafter. They reach Iraq, Syria and N Pakistan towards the end of the month.

In March, the last birds leave the wintering sites.  In Syria and Turkey, important concentrations build up at stopover sites between 01–20 March, peaking around 10 March. In Iraq and Pakistan, birds pass through until the end of the month, with first birds observed in Kazakhstan in the last ten days.

In April, the first birds arrive on the breeding grounds in the first days of the month, while passage in Azerbaijan and Uzbekistan peaks and small numbers reach S Russia and W Kazakhstan. Around mid-April, good numbers arrive in the southern breeding areas in Kazakhstan, starting incubation around the 20th of the month. By late April, birds are present throughout the breeding range.

In May, new birds arrive on the breeding grounds until the middle of the month, while significant numbers are already incubating in Kazakhstan. The first chicks hatch around 20 May in Central Kazakhstan.

In June, many birds are still on nests in Russia and Kazakhstan, while most of the successful breeding pairs guard chicks. Throughout the month, flocks of moulting males gather at the breeding grounds. First chicks fledge towards the end of the month.

In July, fledged chicks and moulting adults gather in post-breeding flocks in the breeding areas, with first dispersal movements observed around mid-month. Around 20 July, strong migration starts with medium to large flocks passing through Central Kazakhstan.

In August, most birds leave the breeding grounds; movements through Kazakhstan are slow and protracted, with first birds observed in Uzbekistan and at key Russian stopover sites (such as Manych lowlands).

In September, large numbers gather during the first two weeks at Manych in SW Russia, with significant passage observed in the Caucasus region. Birds arrive at key stopover sites in Turkey and Uzbekistan during the second half of the month. The last birds depart from the breeding grounds, some are observed in S Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan.

In October, some birds are still in SW Russia, while large concentrations build up in Turkey, where the birds stop over until around 15 October. A few birds arrive at the wintering sites in India and Sudan in the last days of the month, and there is significant passage in Pakistan.

In November, the wintering areas are occupied during the whole month, with most of the records from the Indian subcontinent gathered in this period.

In December, birds are rather mobile at their wintering grounds in Sudan, Oman and NW India. Single birds and small flocks appear in Israel, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Iran.

Colour-ringed chick
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