Rupis – the subadult Egyptian vulture which was captured and tagged in the framework of the project LIFE Rupis last July, and that has spent the winter in the National Park Boucle du Baoulé in western Mali – has now started his migration towards Europe!
Rupis stayed all winter in Mali until now. When we were losing hopes he would come to Europe – most of his breeding conspecifics have already arrived in early March – he then made a move. Rupis started on the 3rd April and flew north-east into Mauritania. It then made a west-turn and spend a day in an area which it visited also on the way south (see map). The last data we received is from the 11 April on the border between Mauritania and Algeria, 1000km into his journey – but there are still around 1800km until the Douro canyon!
Rupis was captured close to Miranda do Douro in the upper Douro canyon, in late July last year, and then spent the best part of August and September commuting between the Douro canyon and a foraging area west of Salamanca. Then, on 20th September, Rupis started its migration south. He crossed the straits of Gibraltar on the 22nd, and entered the Sahara Desert southeast of Ouarzazate on the 24th September, crossing Algeria and Mauritania into Western Mali, a major wintering area for Iberian Egyptian vultures.
It will be interesting to see where it goes – and if it breeds this year. Rupis is already on its fourth calendar year, and should normally start breeding activities.
The data we get from its GPS unit will help us to find out more about the places Egyptian vulture forage or about their roosting sites.
You can follow the movements of Rupis and other Egyptian vultures here http://www.4vultures.org/our-work/monitoring/egyptian-vulture-online-maps/