Thursday 1 March 2012


Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus). One of the birds, a subadult, overwintering in Cáceres. December 2008. By Miguel Ángel Muńoz "Memole".

The Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) is a summer visitor to mainland Spain, though there are resident populations in the Canary and Balearic archipelagos. In Doñana, however, a small overwintering population of 20-30 birds built up in the late twentieth century, than falling away to only four birds in 2009 and 2010 (EBD/CSIC). Although there have been one-off records of wintering Egyptian Vultures in Extremadura since 1990, it is only recently that a small wintering population has been found in the centre-west of Cáceres Province.

Complete overwintering was not confirmed until 2008/2009. Further research then unearthed regular wintering records in the zone since at least 2001 and maybe even as far back as the eighties of last century. The birds show plumage of all ages, ranging from juvenile to adult, though no proportion has been established between them.

The enclosed graph shows the peak figures of wintering Egyptian Vulture sightings since 2006, ranging from 7 to 24. Apparently, the wintering of Egyptian Vultures in this area is linked to the farming practice of dumping livestock offal. At the end of 2011, the environmental section of Spain's Guardia Civil, Seprona, banned this practice. Since then the offal has been dumped in containers, with serious knock-on effects for the Egyptian Vultures, their numbers falling sharply thereafter. Since 2006, wintering Egyptian Vultures have been seen at least in the following municipalities of the centre-west of Cáceres: Brozas, Alcántara, Acehúche, Portezuelo, Torrejoncillo, Portaje, Pescueza, Cachorrilla, Coria, Calzadilla, Casas de Millán, Mirabel and Serradilla. There were also three more sightings in the Llanos de Cáceres-Trujillo (Aldea del Cano, Belén-Trujillo and Monroy) and one in the north of Badajoz Province(La Roca de la Sierra).

The graph was drawn up from the valuable information furnished by Andrés Rodríguez, Miguel Ángel Muńoz, Iván Solana and Antonio Justiniano Julián.

- Estación Biológica de Doñana (EBD/CSIC). Informes de seguimiento de procesos naturales en el Espacio Natural de Doñana [download reports].
- Noticiarios Ardeola. No 56:157-158, 57:224-225 y 58:202.
- Prieta, J., y Mayordomo, S. 2011. Aves de Extremadura, vol. 4. 2004-2008. SEO-Cáceres. Plasencia.