Identification of important migration concentration areas of Egyptian vultures from the Balkan population tracked by satellite telemetry


Mirgation bottleneck sites in spring.

Тhe Report “Identification of important migration concentration areas of Egyptian vultures (Neophron percnopterus) from the Balkan population tracked by satellite telemetry” aims identifying the most important migration bottlenecks and hotspots and where immature birds roam for the four years before they start breeding. Those concentration areas can then be examined for any existing anthropogenic risks such as wind turbines, electricity infrastructure, and the general use of shooting and poisoning.

In this study is used satellite tracking data to identify areas used by a large proportion of the Egyptian vultures from the Balkan population during migration and examined the potential threats in those areas from human infrastructure. This information is critical to direct conservation measures in crucial regions where a high number of birds from the Balkan population may be at risk of mortality.

The tracking data used to perform all the analyses were collected between 10th of August 2010 and the 16th of June 2016. The 14 birds (5 adults, 9 juveniles) contributed a total of 11251 locations during their respective migratory seasons, describing 12 spring (including 5 from adults) and 18 autumn migrations (including 6 from adults).

Among the ten most important bottlenecks calculated from both autumn and spring migration, the first one was located in the Gulf of Iskenderun (South Turkey) and included more than 70 % of all the migrations. The second one was positioned around Suez (Egypt) and exactly 70 % of the migrations were passing through the area. In the eight other cells, 53 % to 66 % of all the migrations occurred there, concentrating more than 15 migrations in each of them. All highlighted areas were mostly around the eastern coast of the Mediterranean from Turkey to Egypt, through Syria, Lebanon and Israel, as well as in central Anatolia (Turkey), around Beypazari, an area that we already highlighted as a migratory hotspot for Egyptian vultures.

The Report identifies one registered wind farm located in the main hotspot in central Anatolia, which is also an important bottleneck, seven within the most important bottleneck areas and two were partially included in one of the cells. Six of them were in the area where the largest number of Egyptian,vultures passed through around the Gulf of Iskenderun (Turkey), and the seventh one was located in the second most important bottleneck around Suez (Egypt). The number of wind-turbines in each wind-farm could be as little as 5 and as many as hundreds.

The full report is available in PDF here.

LIFE+ project The Return of the Neophron, Egyptian vulture, migration, satellite transmitters