The realm of the Egyptian vultures loses grounds in the Balkans


The results from the monitoring of the Egyptian vulture in 2019 on the Balkans show a big drop in the population of the species. The number of occupied territories has decreased by 32% (from 74 down to 51) and the number of pairs has decreased by 37 % (from 71 to 45)  between 2012 and 2019.

Bulgaria is the stronghold of the species in the region with 24 breeding pairs, 22 of which are incubating (vs 26 pairs, 19 incubating in 2018). On the contrary, after a couple of years remaining stable, the Greek population has dropped to a historical minimum with only three pairs left plus two territories occupied by single males (down from five and six respectively in 2018).

The number of occupied territories in Albania is nine (five are occupied by pairs and four by single birds) with no change compared to previous monitoring programs conducted in 2012, 2013 and 2018. However, the total number of occupied territories has decreased by 36% since 2006 (from 14 to 9).

There are 13 breeding territories in North Macedonia recorded so far, out of which nine are incubating pairs. The number is the same as in 2018 but a few more territories are expected to be confirmed in the next month. Nevertheless, the number of occupied territories has decreased by at least 30 % in the last 7 years.

In 2019 the artificial feeding sites keep attracting floaters which are crucial for the survival of the population in the Balkans. Till now at least two different birds were observed at Studen  Kladenet’s feeding site (currently maintained in the frame of the project ReVultures (LIFE14 NAT/NL/000901) and one more at the vulture restaurant at Kotel (maintained by FWFF, Green Balkans and BPPS in the frame of the project Vultures Back to LIFE (LIFE14 NAT/BG/000649). To attract and support more floaters we will open two feeding sites this year - in the Eastern Rhodopes (the core area for the Egyptian vulture population in Bulgaria) and one in Epirus, Greece. Probably two more will be created next year (one in the north of Bulgaria and another one in Epirus).

In line with our long-term program to ensure safe food for the species in Bulgaria, we will keep supporting at least 7 pairs at the vulture restaurants and another 7 pairs with the individual supplementary feeding scheme (60% of the population of the Egyptian vulture in Bulgaria) during this breeding season. Several feeding stations are also currently operating in Greece to cover the entire population left in the country, while in Albania and North Macedonia are also operating one per country respectively.


The LIFE project "Egyptian Vulture New LIFE (LIFE16 NAT/BG/000874) brings together institutions and organizations from 14 countries spanning the Balkans, Middle East, and Africa and is implemented with the financial support of the EU LIFE Programme. The Coordinating Beneficiary is the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds / BirdLife Bulgaria (BSPB). Associated Beneficiaries are:  Hellenic Ornithological Society / BirdLife Greece (HOS),  WWF Greece, the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds / BirdLife UK (RSPB), Doğa Derneği / BirdLife Turkey (DD), regional offices of BirdLife International in Africa and Middle East, A.P. Leventis Ornithological and Research Institute (APLORI), CMS Raptors MoU, Green Balkans.