Four new Egyptian vulture’s territories: three in Bulgaria and one in Greece!


© Dimitris Vavilys

A BSPB team confirmed a newly formed pair of Egyptian vultures in Northern Bulgaria for the first time since 2007, which is even raising a generation! Another good news from the North is also the single bird that has occupied territory in an old breeding area of the species. Besides that, another new pair was found in the Eastern Rhodopes in an old breeding territory of the species.

Thus, 2020 marks three more occupied territories of the globally endangered species in Bulgaria compared to 2019. Their total number is 27 and the number of hatchlings is 30, with 85% of all pairs having offsprings. For comparison, in 2019 the number of occupied territories was 24. The two new pairs are in the two cores of the population of the species in the country - in Northern Bulgaria and in the Eastern Rhodopes. The pair in the Eastern Rhodopes occupied territory in the periphery of the core, which in the past was also inhabited by a family of Egyptian vultures.

The male bird from the newly formed pair in Northern Bulgaria has a colored ring with a number - B14, which allowed the BSPB team to track its history. The bird was ringed on July 24, 2008, by a BSPB team in a neighboring breeding territory. The Egyptian vulture and other species of birds of prey are characterized by the so-called Philopatrism - when they reach maturity, the birds return to the breeding territories where they had been hatched to reproduce. In this way, the existence of the breeding territory in time is ensured. In this case, the nest in which the B14 was hatched is still occupied, possibly even by its own parents. Therefore, B14 occupies the nearest neighboring nesting territory of its father, demonstrating the mechanism by which in nature the species occupy their territories and restore the size of their population. BSPB staff guards the pair every day so that they can raise their first generation. The vulture family gives hope for the restoration of the species in Northern Bulgaria.

There is good news coming from Greece as well, a new pair that occupies an old breeding territory has been confirmed in Dadia-Lefkimi-Soufli Forest National Park. The total number of pairs increased to four, after a dramatic drop when only three pairs remained in the whole country in 2019. All four pairs are settled in Thrace and succeed to nest and raise six fledglings that very soon will start to fly and discover the area before leaving for Africa. In Western Greece despite the fact that only one territory with a single male was confirmed, there is hope after observation of an immature bird in the area of Meteora that has not happened for many years.

The BSPB team expresses its gratitude to the colleagues from FWFF, who provided information about the single bird that has occupied territory in the area of Kotel, where they maintain a feeding station for vultures, and to Ivaylo Angelov for the provided data for the new pair in Northern Bulgaria!

The monitoring of the nesting territories of the globally endangered Egyptian vulture is carried out within the LIFE project "Egyptian Vulture New LIFE", which brings together 20 organizations and institutions from 14 countries in the Balkans, the Middle East, and Africa.