Research output

GPS tracking data of Western marsh harriers breeding in Belgium and the Netherlands

Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-article


Departments, research groups and services

External Organisations

  • Grauwe kiekendief - Kenniscentrum Akkervogels (GKA)
  • Instituut voor Biodiversiteit en Ecosysteem Dynamica (IBED), Universiteit van Amsterdam,


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)143-155
Publication statusPublished - 8-Jul-2020


In this data paper three datasets are described containing GPS tracking and acceleration data of Western marsh harriers ( Circus aeruginosus ) breeding in Belgium and the Netherlands. The Western marsh harrier is included as a threatened bird species in Annex I of the European Bird Directive due to the steep decline in population densities. In order to collect data of habitat use and migration behaviour, Western marsh harriers were equipped with light-weight solar powered GPS trackers developed by the Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics (IBED) at the University of Amsterdam (University of Amsterdam Bird Tracking System, UvA-BiTS). These trackers automatically collect and store data on the bird’s activity and 3D position in time and transmit these data to ground stations. The datasets were collected by the Research Institute for Nature and Forest (INBO) and the Dutch Montagu’s Harrier Foundation. Tracked Western marsh harriers were breeding in the northeast of the Dutch province of Groningen and on the opposite side of the river Ems in Germany (H_GRONINGEN), in the region of Waterland-Oudeman near the Belgian-Dutch border (MH_WATERLAND), and at the left bank of the Scheldt estuary, close to the Belgian-Dutch border and north of the city of Antwerp (MH_ANTWERPEN). Most individuals remained within 10 km from their nesting sites during the breeding season and wintered in West Africa. H_GRONINGEN contains 987,493 GPS fixes and 3,853,859 acceleration records of four individuals since 2012. MH_WATERLAND contains 377,910 GPS fixes of seven individuals. Sampling in this region began in 2013. Three more Western marsh harriers were tagged in the Scheldt estuary near Antwerp more recently in 2018 (one individual) and 2019 (two individuals) for the MH_ANTWERPEN study, which contains 47,917 GPS fixes and 227,746 acceleration records. The three Western marsh harrier datasets were published as separate studies in Movebank ( and archived as data packages in Zenodo ( to ensure long-term preservation and versioning of the data.
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