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Egyptian vulture in France in 2016 – a summary: smaller population but average breeding productivity and a good number of young ringed

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The 2016 annual report on the status of the French population of the Egyptian vulture has just been published by Erick Kobierzycki, the responsible for the Pyrenees of the national species action plan, coordinated by LPO.

Last year in France there were 84-87 territorial pairs, of which 76 started to breed. Of these, 54 laid eggs, and produced 61 young. The general productivity was 0.70, and the breeding success 0.80. Most of the breeding pairs (59 in 76) are in the Pyrenees, with the nucleus in the southeast of the country accounting for 17 breeding pairs.

Last year´s breeding productivity was far better than in 2015, which was the worst year on record. In the Pyrenees, the number of breeding pairs is still decreasing, with the disappearance of some pairs in the western part of the massif (Pays Basque, Vallée d’Aspe et d’Ossau), which is the most important nucleus in the country (33-36 pairs in 2016 – 39 in 2015). One or two new pairs elsewhere did not compensate for this loss. In the southeast the population is stable, with 17-18 pairs in the last 4 years (down from 20-22 during 2005-2012).

The breeding parameters were in 2016 within the average for the period 1999-2015, and much better than the disastrous 2015: 61 birds fledged compared with only 48 in 2015.

Out of the 61 young fledged, 27 were colour ringed (44%). During the year 21 colour ringed birds from different ages were also observed, mostly in the south-east, with a few controls in Italy and Spain

Among the interesting data collected last year there was one adult which is now 15 years old, and has been seen for the third year in a row as a breeding bird in the Pyrenees. One bird ringed in 2009, and controlled several times in Spain and France, was found dead in a rubbish dump in Spain, while an adult which was ringed after rehabilitation in 2012 after being found wounded (shot) was seen last year, 4 years later, confirming the treatment was successful.

Two Egyptian vultures were also tagged in France last year with GSM-GPS tags – one adult captured for the purpose in the Gorges du Gardon (see enclosed map of its migration, it is now still in Mauritania) and a bird from a rehabilitation centre that had to be recaptured upon release again. In addition, one bird tagged in 2015 (coming also from a rehabilitation center) did migrate to Africa this winter (after having spent the winter of 2015 in Spain), but its signal disappeared in Senegal in the end of October (see map).

Contact: Erick Kobierzycki. Coordination Pyrenees Plan National d’Actions Vautour percnoptère, erick.kobierzycki@wanadoo.fr

Photo: Bruno Berthemy-VCF

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