Alliance for the Egyptian vulture and the Imperial eagle started in Turkey


This is the name of the new project of  Doga Dernegi (BirdLife Turkey) and the Bulgarian Society for the Protection of Birds/BSPB (BirdLife Bulgaria) whose overall objective is improving conservation status of Egyptian Vulture and Eastern Imperial Eagle populations and their habitats in Turkey through building national capacity; increasing knowledge; awareness-raising and advocacy against threats and promotion of conservation action at community and state level via enhanced dialogue and transfer of know-how and experience on best practices between Turkey and EU. The project is supported by the Program for Civil Society Dialogue between EU and Turkey. The project started with a training seminar held in Izmir ( where experts from the BSPB/BirdLife presented different methods of surveying both species and conservation actions. After the seminar two field teams left for the project sites to study the distribution and numbers on the Egyptian vulture and the Imperial eagle.

The Egyptian vulture team spent 10 field days in vast areas in central east Turkey where 25 unknown until now occupied territories of the Egyptian vulture were found and monitored. The number of the pairs incubating was 16. In the other occupied territories pairs were observed building nests or having courtship behaviour.  In addition two rubbish dumps were visited where up to 60 birds in total were counted which prove their importance for the vultures in Turkey. Most of the birds exploiting the rubbish dumps were adults but also 5 immatures and 2 subadults were observed. In the next visit during July the field team will check the breeding success of the pairs and will expand the study area in order to find new Egyptian vulture territories. The population size of the species in Turkey is estimated at 1,500 – 3,000 pairs, and therefore the conservation and the study of the species in this part of the range is very important. Nevertheless there are assumptions that probably the estimation is overestimated, and the project will shed some light on more precise estimation of the population size in Turkey and initiating conservation efforts in this part of the species‘ range.

The Imperial eagle team discovered 10 unknown occupied territories in the Asian part of Turkey including two nests with incubating eagles. This data are very valuable not due to the number of found pairs but due to their location. The pairs are in areas where there was no confirmed information about Imperial eagle breeding.  They are located in 200 km long strip oriented from North to South in the Western part of Turkey. Those new data complete the existing information for Imperial breeding in the Central part of Turkey collected by MME (BirdLife Hungary) and DD (BirdLife Turkey) during the last several years. The new data collected broaden the knowledge about Imperial eagle distribution in Turkey and supports the assumption that at least several hundred pairs may exist in Asia Minor. Thus Turkish Imperial eagle population would be the third after the populations in Russia and Kazakhstan  and the Turkey seems to be one of the highest priority in terms of research and conservation measures. Future research may prove also the hypothesis that the Imperial Eagle population on the Balkans and Especially in Bulgaria and European part of Turkey is dependent from the larger population in Asia Minor.

Many other rare and interesting raptor species such as  Steppe Eagle, Golden eagle, Saker, Long-legged buzzard have been observed and new localities were found during the field work.

BSPB team (Vladimir Dobrev, Volen Arkumarev, Ivaylo Angelow and Michail Iliev) would like to thank to all colleagues form Doga Dernegi (BirdLife Turkey) for the common work and hospitality. We are especially obliged to Burak Özkırlı, Turan Çetin, Evrim Tabur Korkmaz, Sureyya Isfendiyaroglu that share the field work with us.


Photos: Ivailo Angelov, Volen Arkumaev, Vladimir Dobrev

BSPB, Doga Dernegi, Turkey, Izmir, Egyptian vulture, Imperial Eagle