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Result of the last scavenger bird counts
14 June 2013

It were two fantastic days to the team members and volunteers that participated in the last counts of scavenger birds and other birds of prey, under the scope of Habitat Lince Abutre LIFE project. It looked like that, once again, the weather conditions could have jeopardized the counts, but the weather turned out to be fine for the counts. Several species were watched in considerable abundances, including at short distances from the birdwatchers.

The data, still provisional, indicate that at the Guadiana Valley it might have been observed between 11 to 15 Black Vultures (Aegypius monachus) and between 93 to 119 Griffon Vultures (Gyps fulvus). It were also observed 2 to 3 Iberian Imperial Eagles (Aquila adalberti), 6 Ravens (Corvus corax), but only 1 Black Kite (Milvus migrans). Besides the group of obligate or facultative scavengers it were also observed 9 Short-toed Snake Eagles (Circaetus gallicus), 7 Booted Eagles (Aquila pennata), 2 Bonelli’s Eagles (Aquila fasciata), and also 6 to 9 Common Buzzards (Buteo buteo), 2 to 3 Montagu's Harrier (Circus pygargus) and 2 to 3 Common Kestrels (Falco tinnunculus). We also highlight the observation of 2 Black Storks (Ciconia nigra).

At Moura/Mourão/Barrancos, the preliminary results indicate the presence of at least 5 Black Vultures and between 357 to 451 Griffon Vultures. Among the facultative scavenger birds we highlight 4 to 7 Golden Eagles (Aquila chrysaetos), adults and juveniles, more than 30 Black Kites, 2 ravens, but also 2 Red Kites (Milvus milvus), which being a species that uses the study area in the wintering period in high numbers, the presence of individuals also during the summer period seems to confirm the existence of some breeding pairs recorded in previous years. Among the non-scavenger birds of prey we highlight the unusual presence of 8 to 9 Bonelli’s Eagles, but also 7 to 9 Booted Eagles, 4 to 5 Common Kestrels, 3 Montagu’s Harriers, about 20 Short-toed Snake Eagles as well as approximately the same number of Common Buzzards. We also detected 2 Black Storks, 1 Great Bustard (Otis tarda), some Black-belied Sandgrouse (Pterocles orientalis) and also the presence of Eurasian Stone Curlew (Burhinus oedicnemus) and Little Bustard (Tetrax tetrax) near Estação Biológica do Garducho.

Totally, during the count periods were observed 7 species of obligate or facultative scavengers (including the raven) and 6 species of other birds of prey, including a high number of Black Vultures, this project’s target species, mainly in the Guadiana Valley.

The team of Habitat Lince Abutre LIFE project thanks once again for the pleasant company and dedication of Diogo Oliveira, Filipa Machado, Carlos Silva, Perrine Raquez, Ana Teresa Figueira, Jaime Sousa, Joana Araújo, Franclim Cardoso, Márcia Grosso and Jorge Candeias, precious volunteers that helped us ensure these bird counts.

The next counts are scheduled to July 8-9!