26 young Egyptian vultures have successfully left their nests in Bulgaria and Greece in 2016


During this nesting season in Bulgaria and Greece were detected a total of 40 territories occupied by Egyptian vultures (33 in Bulgaria and 7 in Greece) - two more than in 2015.

In Bulgaria, 28 territories were occupied by pairs and 5 by solitary individuals. Twenty four of these territories were in the Eastern Rhodopes - 21 pairs and 3 solitary individuals, and the other 9 - in Northeastern Bulgaria (7 pairs and 2 solitary individuals). For the first time since 2012 a second territory has been occupied in the "Rusenski Lom" Nature Park (by a single bird), as well as 2 old territories in the Eastern Rhodopes were re-occupied (by pairs). A total of 22 (79%) of the pairs in the country started incubation (16 in the Eastern Rhodopes and 6 in North Bulgaria), and 19 of them succeeded to raise an offspring. From a total of 25 juveniles, 23 successfully left their nests (16 in the Eastern Rhodopes and 7 in North Bulgaria). The causes of the two death chicks are unknown.

In Greece, 5 territories were occupied by pairs and 2 – by solitary individuals. Five of them were in Thrace (occupied by 4 pairs and 1 single bird), whereas in the rest of Greece Egyptian vultures were found in only 2 territories (1 pair and 1 single bird). All (100%) of the pairs started incubation and 3 of them have successfully raised offspring. Of the total of 6 juveniles, only 3 (50%) left their nest (two birds became victims to a predator, while the reason for the death of the third bird remains unclear).

Supplementary feeding

In Bulgaria, 12 pairs (6 in Northern Bulgaria and 6 in the Rhodope Mountains) and 2 single birds in North Bulgaria were regularly fed throughout the breeding season with small quantities of meat. Another three pairs in the Eastern Rhodopes were fed in August. Generally, over 400 supplementary feedings done by 12 local contributors in 7 project areas and over 1.5 tons of meat (provided by local farmers and slaughter houses) were provided to the vultures.

In Greece two pairs (one in Thrace and one in Central Greece) were regularly fed throughout the breeding season with small quantities of meat (over 200 kg in total). In addition, three feeding sites were also in operation supplying meat coming from slaughter houses and local farmers (over 1.5 tons of meat throughout the breeding season).

Nest guarding

During the breeding season birds can be easily disturbed and sometimes juveniles fail in their first flight attempts, so each year the project provides protection of nests and juveniles. The period around the first flight of the juveniles  (late July-early August) is the most critical since, due to lack of experience, some of them may fall out of the nest, get hurt or become a victim of predators.

In Bulgaria, а volunteer program was organized in August, which involved a total of 21 people (collaborators on the project and volunteers), including guests from Germany and Lithuania. Sixteen pairs were guarded daily. This pairs succeeded to rise a total of 19 juveniles (7 in Northern Bulgaria and 12 in the Eastern Rhodopes). They represent 83% of the young Egyptian vultures that successfully left their nests in Bulgaria.

We are grateful to the donors and volunteers, thanks to which the nest guarding of the Egyptian vulture for this year completed successfully! For the second consecutive year the nest guarding of the Egyptian vulture pair in the Nature Park “Rusenski Lom” took place, thanks to the donation of Marieta Koleva.

In Greece the last nest in Meteora was guarded during the whole season. In Thrace, one nest in Kompsato was guarded from June until the pair and its offspring migrated. Moreover, two nests in Dadia National Park were guarded on daily basis from the middle of July until the migration by the EVS volunteers (European Voluntary Service) hosted in WWF Project.

LIFE project The Return of the Neophron, Egyptian vulture, monitoring, nest guarding, supplementary feeding