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More and more Black Vultures are appearing in the Italian Eastern Alps

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Presence of Black and Egyptian Vulture in the Italian Eastern Alps

In the Italian Eastern Alps a project for the reintroduction of Griffon Vulture was started in the late 80s. The resulting griffon colony grew over time, partially helped by regular feeding at a feeding station and immigration. This colony is highly connected with the Croatian population, which is about 160 km away (as the crow flies).

Griffon vultures are now present all year round in northeast Italy – about 120 Griffons throughout the winter and at least 200 in summer. These high numbers of Griffons and the feeding point attract also other rare species. The Black Vulture was observed for the first time in 2005 (an individual named “Ophris”, born in 2002 in Spain and released in the Baronnies (France) in 2005 as part of the Black Vulture there). The bird remained in the area from 18th July to 24th August. In 2011 another Black Vulture named “Oviedo” (born in the wild in the Cevennes (France) in 2010, following the reintroduction project there) was regularly observed from 22nd May to 8th October. In 2012 Oviedo came back to the area from 19th July to 21st October. Another Black Vulture, not marked, was also present from 5th May to 18th September 2012.

This year Oviedo appeared for the third time on the first July (he had lost its plastic ring), this time accompanied by two other, unmarked Black Vultures.

The Egyptian Vulture is also observed regularly in the area, with 1-2 individuals most years. From 1993 to 2013 at least 17 individuals were recorded. Birds appear between April and July, both immature and adults. The only bird with marks was observed in July 2013: an adult born in 2009 in Gorges du Gardon (Département du Gard, France).

Fulvio Genero

Member of the VCF Advisory board

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