Another annual winter Griffon Vulture census successfully took place in Cyprus last December. BirdLife Cyprus alongside the Game and Fauna Service, the Cyprus Conservation Foundation – Terra Cypria, the SBA Environment Department, the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF) and a team of dedicated volunteers spread across vulture areas on the island to count this Critically Endangered species. The results of the census indicated that the population remains stable.
The census aims to simultaneously record the number and movements of the Griffon Vultures across all viewpoints to estimate the species’ current population size as accurately as possible and identify potential territorial pairs and record any breeding activity. During the census, observers were stationed at 12 key look-out points within the species’ home range. A maximum count of around 20 individuals was recorded on the day, indicating that the population remains at the same levels as with previous years. Among the individuals counted were also two juvenile birds that had fledged a few months earlier.
Breeding behaviour provides a glimmer of hope
The sight of one pair of Griffon Vultures copulating and that of another one displaying territorial behaviour at one of the species’ key breeding colonies marked this year’s breeding season with hope. More good news came in early January when the LIFE with Vultures project team confirmed the existence of a nest as well as another territorial pair at two key breeding sites respectively. The LIFE with Vultures project team will be closely monitoring the breeding colonies in the months to come until late summer to identify active nests, monitor the breeding activity and hopefully record more fledglings. Here’s to a productive breeding season for the species!
LIFE with Vultures
LIFE with Vultures is a targeted conservation project for the protection of the Griffon Vulture in Cyprus. In this four-year endeavor (2019-2023), BirdLife Cyprus, the Game and Fauna Service, Terra Cypria – The Cyprus Conservation Foundation and the Vulture Conservation Foundation have joined forces to tackle the main threats facing the Griffon Vulture and prevent Cyprus’ most threatened bird of prey from going extinct. The project has a 1,375,861 Euro budget and is co-funded (60%) by the EU’s LIFE programme.
Source: BirdLife Cyprus