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African white-backed vulture seen in Portugal

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Last week (24th August) an African white-backed vulture (Gyps africanus) has been seen at the Estação Biológica do Garducho, near Mourão (Portugal), in one of the vulture feeding stations set up in that part of Eastern Alentejo by the LIFE Lince Abutre project (see ). This African vulture was seen by Alfonso Godino and Catarina Machado – it is only the second record of the species for Portugal, and the fifth for Europe.

This bird, as well as the increasing numbers of rueppell´s vultures seen in Europe (see ), has probably traveled north from its African distribution range together with the flocks of wintering griffon vultures in western Africa, that come to Europe each Spring and cross through the straits of Gibraltar.

African white-backed vultures are now considered Endangered at global level, because they have declined severely  and rapidly in parts of their range, due to habitat loss, declines in wild ungulate populations, hunting for trade, , collisions and electrocution,  and, most importantly, widespread poisoning.

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