Egyptian Vulture Buoux explores unusual corners of Europe

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The Egyptian Vulture Buoux that needed rescuing twice became a fantastic traveller! The subadult bird successfully carried out two migration cycles between Africa and Europe, and more recently, Buoux also toured regions that are unusual for the Egyptian Vulture.

Buoux faces a challenging start

Buoux being rehabilitated the second time © Danièle Bruchet
Buoux in rehabilitation for the second time © Danièle Bruchet

The Egyptian Vulture Buoux had a difficult start in life. The vulture that hatched in Baronnies back in 2018 needed rescuing only one week after fledging. Following its rehabilitation and release in March 2018 in Villeperdrix, France, Buoux found itself in Huesca in Aragon, Spain, two months later. But GPS data signalled that something was wrong. A local team quickly recovered Buoux who, as it turned out, broke its wing due to a collision with a cable. The vulture nearly spent one year in rehabilitation to make a recovery. All these efforts were worth it since, in early May 2020, Buoux finally returned to the wild. 

Moving between Africa and Europe 

After its second release, Buoux explored Spain for the whole summer before heading south for its first migration to Africa. After spending a second winter between Mali and Mauritania, Buoux crossed the Strait of Gibraltar again, returning to Europe on 11 April 2022. In comparison, in 2021, the vulture crossed back over a month later on 22 May. The earlier spring migration of Buoux this year is typical for subadult birds, as they arrive in time for breeding. 

Visiting unusual regions for the Egyptian Vulture

In 2021, after Buoux returned to Europe, it spent the spring and summer months in Spain, whereas this time around, the vulture explored new regions, where observations of the Egyptian Vulture are unusual. Buoux flew to the Pyrenees, crossed the mountains, and visited Aude and the Massif Central. Finally, Buoux arrived in the pre-Alps, where it fledged in 2018 and was released in Baronnies in 2019. There, it also visited the local feeding site. Even after performing this lengthy journey, instead of stopping, Buoux continued north. 

The vulture crossed Switzerland in a single day on 10 May 2022 and flew as north as Heilbronn, just north of Stuttgart. Then it turned east and then south, flying above Munich on 12 May, before continuing south. Buoux then crossed Austria to Bruneck in South Tyrol, following the valley south to Verona, crossing the Po plain to Parma and reaching the coast in La Spezie. There, Buoux turned, passed by Genua and the Alps in the Parco Naturale Alpi Marittime and crossed back to France to the Parc National du Mercantour. Finally, on 16 May, Buoux arrived in the Parc Naturel Regional du Verdon, where it slowed down a bit and is currently in that region. 

The recent travels of Buoux are not that common

Egyptian Vultures are infrequently seen in Central or Northern European countries like Switzerland and Germany. Usually, such countries get about one observation of a single bird per year or even every two years. Egyptian Vultures are also not breeding in these countries. 

However, over the last months, there were several observations of an Egyptian Vulture in the UK and Ireland and more recently in Northern Europe in Denmark and the Netherlands.

We hope Buoux continues to live in the wild without any problems and eventually finds its ideal partner to successfully raise a family! 

You can follow the movements of Egyptian Vultures we follow via our online GPS maps.

Vulture Conservation Foundation VCF, MAVA, Vautours en Baronnies, LPO, Gobierno de Aragon

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