Croatian griffon vultures fly far and wide

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The picture emerging from the recently published Croatian Bird Migration Atlas is striking – griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) fly far and wide, showing up from France to Poland and from Israel to Chad.

It was well known that young Croatian griffons usually spend the winter in the Middle East, with some going all the way to subSaharan Africa through the eastern Mediterranean. Now that the French population is increasing significantly, and with the well documented summering movement of griffons from Spain and France towards the Alps, the contacts between the western European griffons and the Balkan ones are also increasing.

For the first time, a composite picture of all the griffon movements known from Croatia has been compiled by Dr. Goran Sušić, for the above mentioned atlas.

So far, a total of 882 griffon vultures have been ringed in Croatia, and these produced a staggering 1890 controls (as well as additional 3820 data points from GPS satelitte transmitters which have been put on a few Croatian griffons), from 486 individuals – mostly because they sport either wing tags, or colour rings, or both! 79% of these recoveries were abroad.

These figures are incredible – more than half (56%) of all Croatian ringed griffons have been seen at least once somewhere! The oldest was over 17 years old, while the one who has travelled further was recovered in Chad!

Some of the birds have been revered dead – with drowning, poisoning, starvation while on migration, electrocution, hunting, and collision of wind farms being the cause of death reported so far.

(Information extracted from

Sušić, G. 2013. Bjeloglavi sup, Gyps fulvus, Eurasian Griffon. Pp. 70-72. In: Kralj, J., Barišić, S., Tutiš, V., Čiković, D. (eds.): Croatian Bird Migration Atlas. HAZU, Institute of Ornithology, Zagreb). You can download the whole Atlas here

Mao of all resightings of Croatian-ringed griffon vultures

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