The Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) – one of the smallest vultures in the world – is still declining fast across its vast range that includes Europe, Asia and Africa, and was in 2007 uplisted to Globally Endangered.
While populations in Europe are relatively well studied – although still declining fast – knowledge about the species in Africa is very poor. We know the species used to breed across the continent, from northern Africa through the Sahel zone to north Tanzania, down to south-west Angola and north-west Namibia, with a gap around equatorial Africa.
Even though data is lacking, breeding Egyptian vultures suffered a large decline in Africa too, and the species may be extinct in many countries south of the Sahara as a breeding species – although in the winter Africa receives many migrant Egyptian vultures coming from Europe.
Recently, colleagues from the Sahara Conservation Fund (SCF) have found that the species is still breeding in Niger – the first recent breeding record in the country. They found two pairs breeding in the Koutous Massif (see photos). This is good news for the species – incidentally, the area is close to the wintering quarters of European Egyptian vultures.
Congratulations to SCF for the fruitful work and for pushing vulture conservation in that part of the world.