Adult bearded vulture seen in Mt. Olympus (mainland Greece)

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An adult bearded vulture has been seen and photographed on the 6th April in Mt. Olympus (Thessaly-C. Macedonia) by Thomas Nikolopoulos (in the photo it appears with a golden eagle).

This is the first observation of an adult plumage bearded vulture in the area since 1994. In the 70-80s between 2-4 pairs occurred there but the seems went extinct in Mt. Olympus and mainland Greece in the 90s.

Two years ago, though, a 2nd-3rd calendar year bird was observed in the same area by T. Kominos – could this be the same bird that stayed around without being noticed, or is this just a vagrant – possibly from Turkey or the reintroduced alpine population? The bird seen recently does not seem to be ringed or does not bear any markings.

Bearded vultures do occur in Crete, where the population is stable, at around 7 pairs. In the alps the population has been increasing rapidly, and now reaches 50 pairs, but they are relatively less common in the eastern Alps – only 3 breeding pairs in Austria.

This observation is important because it shows there is some movements between population nucleus, which is important now that the VCF and its many partners are carrying out several reintroduction projects to restore the European metapopulation of this species, by promoting linkages and corridors between populations and mountain ranges.

Photo: Thomas Nikolopoulos

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