Ahead of the 2019 Egyptian Vulture breeding season in France let's look back at the results from the 2018 season

Egyptian Vulture Humboldt returning to the French Pyrenees from his 2019 Spring migration
Egyptian Vulture Humboldt returning to the French Pyrenees from his 2019 Spring migration

With the return of the first Egyptian Vultures to France from their Spring migration let’s look back at 2018 for this species in France. Egyptian Vultures in France are made up of two distinct populations, one in the western Pyrenees and another in the south-east of the country. The Conservatoire d’espaces naturels de Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur have been monitoring the south-east French population and have published the results that show 2018 was a positive year for the breeding population of Europe’s migratory vulture in the region. 

 

2018 breeding season results

Over the 2018 breeding season there were 20 territorial pairs, an above average number of pairs since the monitoring of the population began, across nine different Departments with a core population in Vaucluse and the Ardèche. Of the 15 pairs that successfully bred in 2018 17 young birds fledged the nest with two breeding pairs successfully raising two chicks. Over in the Pyrenees the 36 of the 53 breeding pairs bred over 2018 with 37 chicks fledging from the nest.   

 

Following Egyptian Vultures

 

 

 

A female Egyptian Vulture from Vaucluse fitted with a GPS transmitter (c) Joël Bourideys
A female Egyptian Vulture from Vaucluse fitted with a GPS transmitter (c) Joël Bourideys

Several Egyptian Vultures have been fitted with GPS transmitters to help track their movements from their French breeding grounds to their wintering grounds. Weighing between 20-30g these transmitters send location data over the mobile communications network to help conservationists understand how to best protect these birds during the migration. 

 

 

Salomé, Bob and 707

Young Egyptian Vulture, Bob, caught on a camera trap (c) LPO Grand Causses
Young Egyptian Vulture, Bob, caught on a camera trap (c) LPO Grand Causses

Three birds, Salomé, a non-breeding female tagged in 2016, Bob, a young bird that fledged in 2018 and 707, an adult male tagged in 2016 have all been tracked. 

 

 

During his first migration Bob appears to be spending his winter in Andalucia. 

Map of Egyptian Vulture Bob's migration
Map of Egyptian Vulture Bob's migration

Meanwhile Salomé departed for her migration on 19 July and arrived in the wintering ground just under a month later on 15 August, traveling a distance of 4,851 km to reach Mauritania. 

 

707 also headed to Mauritania to spend the winter and left France at the beginning September traveling over 5,000km in just 14 days. 

 

Egyptian Vultures in France

 

Egyptian Vulture Humboldt returning to the French Pyrenees from his 2019 Spring migration
Egyptian Vulture Humboldt returning to the French Pyrenees from his 2019 Spring migration

In the nineteenth century, the Egyptian Vulture was present in all the Pyrenees, the Mediterranean area and up the Rhone Valley to Switzerland. Today there are around 80-100 breeding pairs of the species in the country in two distinct populations. The largest is found in the western Pyrenees consisting of around 80 pairs attached to the larger Spanish population of the Pyrenean regions of Navarre and Aragon. The second population is in the Mediterranean region extending from the regions of Herault to the Alpes de Haute Provence and consists of around 20 breeding pairs. 

GPS tracking of Egyptian Vultures in France (French)

GPS tracking of Egyptian Vultures in Fra
Adobe Acrobat Document 1.9 MB

Breeding season results of Egyptian Vultures from south-east France (French)

Breeding results for Egyptian Vultures i
Adobe Acrobat Document 1.9 MB

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