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Scavenger bird counts of November 2011
14 November 2011

On the 10th and 11th of November 2011 took place another scavenger bird count within the scope of the project. This count had the participation of 3 volunteers, Adriana Silva, Marisa Arosa and Ricardo Ceia, whom we would like to thank for their help in the field. The project technicians Alfonso Godino, David Delgado and Pedro Lourenço also participated in this count.

On the first day we counted birds in the Vale do Guadiana SPA and in the second we counted birds in the Mourão/Moura/Barrancos SPA, and during the count we noted not only scavenger birds, but also other raptors, large soaring birds and steppeland birds. During the two days of field work we counted 8-11 black vultures Aegypius monachus, all of which in the Mourão/Moura/Barrancos SPA. This was the first time that we didn’t detect a single black vulture in the Vale do Guadiana SPA. Overall, we detected 12 raptor species, the most abundant being the gryphon vulture Gyps fulvus (730-990 individuals), followed by the red kite Milvus milvus (18-24 inds.) and the common buzzard Buteo buteo (12-15 inds.). Among the other species we noted the presence of 1 Iberian imperial eagle Aquila adalberti and 2 merlins Falco columbarius.
We also counted 178-204 cranes Grus grus and 6 ravens Corvus corax.
Comparing these results with the count that took place in November 2010, the number of black vultures was lower in the Vale do Guadiana SPA (2010: 5-7; 2011: 0), but was slightly higher at the Mourão/Moura/Barrancos SPA (2010: 6-9; 2011: 8-11). The number of gryphon vultures showed a large increase (2010: 490-600; 2011: 730-990). We observed a decline in the number of golden eagles Aquila chrysaetos (2010: 9-12; 2011: 1), Bonelli’s eagles Aquila fasciata (2010: 6; 2011: 0), common buzzards (2010: 22-29; 2011: 12-15) and red kites (2010: 44-58; 2011: 18-24).

The next counts will take place in December, and we would very much welcome any volunteers who would be willing to help! If you are interested please contact the project technician Alfonso Godino through the following email: