A paper published recently in Ostrich provides evidence of the importance of the Afar region to wintering Egyptian vultures – between 1082 and 1424 Egyptian Vultures were counted roosting there between 2009 and 2013, c. 3% of the global population of the species. The biggest congregations (c. 900 individuals) were found near the border with Djibouti, around the Ethiopian towns of Mile, Logya and Serdo, making this a key area for the wintering of this species.
Most of these birds were adult (51%), while immatures and juveniles made about 32% of the birds. All of the Egyptian Vultures were roosting on high voltage electricity pylons (safe regarding electrocution risk) and communication towers. The habitat in the region is characterized by open savannahs or grasslands with constant presence of livestock. Land degradation and overgrazing, which are widely increasing in the Afar region, probably contribute to the high mortality rates of the livestock in the area, and thus for this high concentration of this scavenging species.
The most important potential threat identified has been the use of poison baits with strychnine in Afar targeting stray dogs.
You can download the paper below.
Egyptian vultures wintering in Ethiopia Arkumarev et al 2014 Ostrich Arkumarev_et_al_2014_Ostrich_EV_Ethiopia Adobe Acrobat Document 691.3 KB Download