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Black vulture Bernardus is back in France!

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Black vulture Bernardus is back in France!

Bernardus – the young black vulture female which already flew over large parts of Europe, and was wintering in Central Spain near Toledo, is back in France!

She started from Castilla-La Mancha on the 3rd April and flew within 4 days to the Massif Central in France. She already spent some time there last year. This time she rested for 2 weeks, probably fueling up because the journey then continued. She flew to the Alps and visited the regions Verdon, Ecrins, Vercors and Baronnies on the way. Currently she is heading westwards again and is approaching the Massif Central again.

During last year´s spring and summer she visited the Massif Central, but spent most of the time in the Alps. Where will she spend the summer this year?

Bernardus was born in the Pairi Daiza Zoo/Animal park, Cambron, Belgium, within the European captive breeding program (EEP) for the Eurasian black vulture, which tries try to breed the species in captivity to provide the chicks for reintroduction projects in the wild. Bernardus was transferred to Verdon (France) in the summer of 2015 and released there (see photo of her with her tag).

In November 2015 she started an amazing journey, taking her all across the Iberian peninsula. You can follow the story here:





After spending its first winter in southern Spain, Bernardus flew all the way around the Iberian peninsula and continued north to Frankfurt in Germany, and then back south to France. During last year´s spring and summer she visited the Massif Central, but spent most of the time in the Alps. 

The VCF has been involved with the reintroduction of black vultures in France, mostly by facilitating the transfer of birds from Spain (wild origin, but coming via rehabilitation centres after they are picked up injured or exhausted), in collaboration with regional administrations in Spain and the French NGOs associated with the reintroduction sites. There are now at least 35 pairs of black vultures breeding in France, in three different nuclei, and soon this reintroduction project will wrap up.

Photo: Marc Pastouret

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