First results from the breeding season of the Egyptian vulture in Bulgaria and Greece


The first results from the monitoring of the species in Bulgaria and Greece show similar tendency in the number of occupied territories and the number of pairs compared to 2017. The number of occupied territories is 25 for Bulgaria (19 in the Rhodopes and 6 in northern Bulgaria) and 6 in Greece (3 in Dadia Forest reserve, 1 in Kompsatos area and 2 in Central Greece) (Figure 1). The number of pairs in Greece hasn‘t changed in the last 5 years (5 pairs) while it has slightly decreased in Bulgaria (down to 25 in 2018)(Figure 2). However, the status of some breeding territories of the speies is still not confirmed and we expect good breeding season and increase in the number of occupied territories and the number of pairs in the next phase of the monitoring.


In line with the positive effect of the vulture restaurants on the high number of floaters and non-breeders registered in 2017, in 2018 the artificial feeding sites keep attracting floaters which are crusial for the survival of the population of the speies both in Bulgaria and in Greece. Till now at least five different birds were observed at Studen kladenets feeding site (currently maintained in the frame of the LIFE+ project ReVultures) and 2 more individuals at the vulture restaurants at Kresna and Kotel (maintained by FWFF, Green Balkans and BPPS in the frame of the project Vultures Back to LIFE (LIFE14 NAT/BG/000649). Amongst of all floaters visiting these important sites accross Bulgaria is Iliaz, the only one survival from the juveniles tagged in 2012. After a several days reload at Studen kladenets feeding site, he recruited in northern Greece, Kompsatos area and found a partner. Both birds are successfully mating and recovered one lost breeding territory in that part of Greece – what a happy news for the vanishing Egyptian vulture!


In 2018 in line with the our long-term program to ensure safe food for the species in Bulgaria we will keep to support at least 7 pairs at the vulture restaurants and another 8 pairs with the individual supplementary feeding scheme (60% of the population of the Egyptian vulture in Bulgaria). In Greece the 5 out of 6 territories are supported on an annual basis by the feeding stations of Dadia National Park and Meteora. The fifth pair will be soon supported by the feeding station that will be established under the LIFE+ project Re-vultures in Kompsatos valley.


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.