- Two Sociable lapwings Vanellus gregarius, satellite tagged in Kazakhstan last summer, have flown more than 5,000 miles to central Sudan, where they have spent the winter, 'BirdLife International' reported.
Satellite tagging is believed to be rapidly adding to people's understanding of the distribution of this critically endangered species outside the breeding season.
The birds left Korgalzhin in central Kazakhstan on 8 August 2007 and arrived at Viranºehir, Turkey around 8 October to join a flock of over 3,000 birds - the largest assembly of the species recorded in over a century - before leaving Turkey in late October, arriving in Sudan on 3 November.
Sociable lapwings were last sighted south in Africa by Dr Mark Avery of the RSPB who saw a small flock in Kenya 20 years ago.
The tagging project began last year when scientists from the RSPB and Association for the Conservation of Biodiversity of Kazakhstan (ACBK) fitted satellite-tracking devices to three birds on their breeding grounds on the barren steppe expanses of central Kazakhstan.
The Sudanese birds will be located, counted and researched by conservationists from the Sudanese Wildlife Society.
A Research Professor at the Sudanese Wildlife Society, Ibrahim Hashim, believed that "finding these birds will not be easy because they are in a remote region where few people go. But that will benefit them because it means they should suffer little disturbance."
"We feel privileged to have these birds in Sudan and are very happy that we can play a part in increasing their numbers," said Professor Ibrahim Hashim.
"These birds are now being protected on their breeding grounds in Kazakhstan and we hope very much to give them equal protection in Sudan."
For Dr Rob Sheldon, an ecologist with the RSPB, "the more we know, the easier it will be to improve their protection and help them increase their numbers."
Maxim Koshkin of ACBK said better understanding of the migration and wintering pattern of this critically endangered species will enable conservations to identify sites which need to be protected, to bring Sociable Lapwing back from the brink of extinction.
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