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SPEA is an Environmental not-for-profit organization whose mission is to support research and conservation of wild birds and their habitats, by promoting sustainable development for the benefit of future generations.
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Douro is on the way


With winter coming to an end, Egyptian Vultures are beginning their journey back: Douro has started heading north from his wintering grounds in Mali. Judging from his past journeys, we expect him to cross the Strait of Gibraltar next weekend.

This adult male spent the winter in the Western Sahara. Following a long period in areas with little reception, which prevented us from monitoring his locations in real time, his transmitter began sending data again on 12 February. From this transmission, we learned that Douro left his wintering grounds in Mali on 5 February, just two days later than he had last year.

What we learn from tracking vultures
The data from all of the vultures tracked through the project shows that, as is typical of this species, they are faithful to specific sites, returning to the same areas every year. However, unlike Egyptian Vultures that have been tracked in the Middle East and the eastern Sahel, the birds from the Douro do not visit landfills in their winter ranges. Instead, our vultures tend to prefer to forage in more natural Sahelian-savannah type habitats. These and other interesting aspects of the vultures’ annual cycle will continue to inform conservation work throughout their range.

Who’s next?
The sub-adult Rupis, which has been tracked since 2016, remains in its favoured area in the Boucle du Baoulé National Park, in southern Mali, where it spent most of its time in the past two winters. Based on previous years, Rupis is expected to depart later than the adults: in 2017 it started spring migration on 6 April, and in 2018 on 20 March. However, this year could be the year Rupis attempts to breed for the first time, and that breeding instinct might see Rupis leave earlier for the breeding grounds.
 
Missing in action
Unfortunately, we have not received any data from the remaining breeding adult, Faia, since 6 September, when she was in northern Algeria on her journey south for the winter. We remain hopeful that this bird has spent the winter period in an area with poor coverage and that we’ll hear from her again this spring.

As for Douro, if his migration follows a similar pattern to last year, he should cross the Strait of Gibraltar between 22nd and 24th February.




Photo: VCF


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