News And Events | 
Update on the last scavenger bird counts
30 July 2012

The last counts of scavenger birds of the 2012 Spring/Summer period took place last week at the Special Protection Areas of Moura-Mourão-Barrancos and Guadiana Valley. Although high temperatures and the lesser number of birds observed, a consequence of the time of the year, that overlapped with the end of the breeding season and with the beginning of Autumn migrations, the project’s team and volunteers sighted some species quite relevant for the project’s area of intervention.

Once again, a higher number of birds were watched at Moura-Mourão-Barrancos. Concerning black vulture (Aegypius monachus), 5 were spotted at Moura-Mourão-Barrancos and 2 at Guadiana Valley Natural Park.
Similarly to the previous counts, the griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) continues to be the most abundant species, with 80-100 being spotted at Guadiana Valley Natural Park and 300-400 in the region of Moura-Mourão-Barrancos.
Besides this species, we also sighted booted eagles (Hieraaetus pennatus), common buzzards (Buteo buteo), short-toed snake-eagles (Circaetus gallicus), black kites (Milvus migrans), 1 red kite (Milvus milvus) and 1 golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos).

At these counts we also recorded very important and relevant sightings: 1 juvenile Spanish imperial eagle (Aquila adalberti) and 1 Rueppell’s griffon (Gyps rueppellii)* at the Natural Park of the Guadiana Valley, as well as 1 subadult Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) at Moura-Mourão-Barrancos.

The team of LIFE Habitat Lince Abutre is grateful to all 15 volunteers that participated on the Spring/Summer counts, for their pleasant companionship and valuable help and interest demonstrated during these months. We also thank Sérgio, Nélia, Vera and Tiago for their help at these last scavenger counts.

Soon we will release more information on the Autumn/Winter counts.
Stay alert!


* Rueppell’s griffon is a large African vulture that feeds solely on carrion and bone fragments of dead animals. Like other vultures, Rueppell’s griffon cuts a distinctive silhouette when in flight, with wide wings, a short square tail and a short head, as it folds and tucks its long neck into its body. It resembles a Griffon vulture, although a little smaller and with a scaled appearance plumage, given by the pale tips of its blackish-brown feathers. Its head and long neck are also covered with fine white down. The powerful and slightly hooked bill, suited to tearing flesh and crunching bone, is orange to yellow, and its eyes are yellow.
It occurs throughout the Sahel region of central Africa, being its occurrence in Portugal only sporadic. Once abundant, this species suffered a quick decline at most of its range, which is why it is currently classified as Threatened on the IUCN Red List.