Migrant Landbird Study Group

Promoting collaborative research for migratory landbirds across flyways

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Almut Schlaich

Study species: Montagu's Harrier

Research topic: Full annual cycle

Institution locations: Centre d'Études Biologiques de Chizé (CEBC); University of Groningen

I am passionate about Montagu’s Harriers since I first observed these gracile raptors dancing above the vast cereal fields of Eastern Groningen in the Netherlands in 2009. I could count myself lucky to start working on this amazing species at the Dutch Montagu’s Harrier Foundation doing my Master’s thesis on stopover site ecology of Montagu’s Harriers at an important stopover site in East Morocco. Since then, I travelled through many European and West African countries in search of Montagu’s Harriers, following our satellite- and GPS-tagged individuals.

Currently, I am doing a PhD with the Dutch Montagu’s Harrier Foundation at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands, and the CNRS Centre d’Études Biologiques de Chizé, France on space-use and behavior of Montagu’s Harriers during the breeding season and at their wintering sites in the Sahel. Using state of the art UvA-BiTS GSP-loggers (, we track harriers in great detail during their whole annual cycle and investigate how they are using the landscape. I am very glad that I have the possibility to work on this species and to analyze an amazing dataset to provide more insight in the ecology of Montagu’s Harriers which could hopefully help to pinpoint important sites along their flyway and to target conservation actions in these areas in the future.


Schlaich, A. E., R. H. G. Klaassen, W. Bouten, C. Both, and B. J. Koks. 2015. Testing a novel agri-environment scheme based on the ecology of the target species, Montagu's Harrier Circus pygargus. Ibis 157: 713-721.

Augiron, S., B. Gangloff, S. Brodier, F. Chevreux, J.-F. Blanc, P. Pilard, A. Coly, A. Sonko, A. Schlaich, V. Bretagnolle, and A. Villers. 2015. Winter spatial distribution of threatened acridivorous avian predators: Implications for their conservation in a changing landscape. Journal of Arid Environments 113: 145-153.

Klaassen R. H. G., A.E. Schlaich, W. Bouten, C. Both, and B. J. Koks. 2014. Eerste resultaten van het jaarrond volgen van Blauwe kiekendieven broedend in het Oost-Groningse akkerland. Limosa 87:135-148.

Klaassen, R. H. G., A. E. Schlaich, M. Franken, W. Bouten, and B. J. Koks. 2014. GPS-loggers onthullen gedrag Grauwe kiekendieven in Oost-Groningse akkerland. De Levende Natuur 115: 61-66.

Vansteelant, W. M. G., W. Bouten, R. H. G. Klaassen, B. J. Koks, A. E. Schlaich, J. van Diermen, E. E. van Loon, and J. Shamoun-Baranes. 2014. Regional and seasonal flight speeds of soaring migrants and the role of weather conditions at hourly and daily scales. Journal of Avian Biology 45: 001–015.

Schlaich, A. E. 2011. Stopover site ecology of Montagu´s Harrier (Circus pygargus) in East-Morocco. Master’s thesis, University of Oldenburg, Germany.