Habitat model for the Egyptian vulture in Bulgaria and Greece


© Dimitar Gradinarov

The technical report “Habitat of the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) in Bulgaria and Greece (2003-2014)”, developed under the LIFE+ project “The Return of the Neophron” examines the relationship between breeding success and the occupation of territories and the various factors of the habitat. 

In the report includes information from 87 different territories and breeding performance of 376 territorial pairs between 2003 – 2014, with an overall territory occupancy rate of 69% and a mean productivity of 0.80 fledglings per occupied territory. The report examines which of 48 different environmental variables were most influential in explaining variation in territory occupancy and breeding success using algorithmic random forest models. Territory occupancy is best explained by food availability, geographic structure, and nesting opportunities, while breeding success is best explained by the number of adjacent villages, topography, and nesting opportunities.

Additionally in several buffer zones (1 km, 5 km and 30 km) the physical characteristics of 110 nests in 84 Egyptian vulture territories in Bulgaria and Greece are investigated, and a GIS tools are used to describe the landscape features and composition in Egyptian vulture territories. 74% of the Egyptian vulture nests are situated in caves while only 26% are situated on cliff ledges, and the majority of the nests are up to 10 m in height. The mean height of the cliffs that the species occupy is 32.05m and can range between 6m and 340m in height. Additionally the length of the breeding cliffs varies from 5m to 5300 m with a mean length of 371.09 m. The landscape composition consists of variety of habitats but mostly forests, arable lands and pastures, both in Bulgaria and Greece.

The report recommends a complex management aiming at adoption of large-scale landscape conservation programs that retain or restore historical small-scale farming practices which may benefit vultures and other biodiversity.

The technical report “Habitat of the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) in Bulgaria and Greece (2003-2014)” could be downloaded from here.

LIFE+ project The Return of the Neophron, Egyptian vulture, habitat