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Result of the last scavenger bird counts
8 November 2013

During the last week of October, it took place the first scavenger counts of the non-breeding season of 2013 under Habitat Lince Abutre LIFE project.

The target species, the Black Vulture (Aegypius monachus), although maintaining a high number of observations (13-18 individuals in both SPAs), has been diminishing when compared to the previous breeding season, having been registered, once again, a higher presence of the species at Moura/Mourão/Barrancos.

As for the other birds of prey observed, and comparing to the breeding season, we have witnessed a decrease in the number of species, although some of them (exclusively wintering or with population increases in this season of the year) have increased.

The Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) is one of these examples. During these counts we observed 900 individuals in Moura/Mourão/Barrancos and 206 in the Guadiana Valley.


Griffon Vulture photographed during the scavenger bird counts, near to a bird point count in Guadiana Valley.

We highlight the arrival of the Red Kite (Milvus milvus), an exclusively wintering species and with a high population decline in the Iberian Peninsula. At these counts we observed 31 individuals in Moura/Mourão/Barrancos and 26 in the Guadiana Valley.


The Red Kite increases its numbers during winter in the south regions of Portugal, with individuals arriving from more southern populations. The presence of this threatened species was detected on October during the project’s scavenger counts.

The Golden Eagle (Aquila chrysaetus) closes the group of scavenger birds of prey (obligatory or optional) observed in these counts, with 2 individuals in Moura/Mourão/Barrancos and only 1 in the Guadiana Valley.

The other large bird of prey observed during the counts, the Bonelli Eagle (Aquila fasciata), was only detected in the Guadiana Valley, where up to 4 individuals flew over near the bird point counts.

From the other birds of prey detected, we highlight the Common Buzzard (Buteo buteo), with a high number of sightings in Moura/Mourão/Barrancos (11) and less than half (5) in the Guadiana Valley.

As for the Common Kestrel (Falco tinnunculus), we recorded 9 sightings in the Guadiana Valley and only 2 in Moura/Mourão/Barrancos. The other small and medium sized birds of prey observed were the Northen Goshawk (Accipiter gentilis) and the Eurasian Sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus), with 1 observation in Moura/Mourão/Barrancos and Guadiana Valley, respectively.

Besides these species of birds of prey, we underline the observation of 1 Black Stork (Ciconia nigra) in Moura/Mourão/Barrancos and several groups of Ravens (Corvus corax) in the Guadiana Valley, with a total of 28 individuals.

The team of Habitat Lince Abutre LIFE project thanks for the pleasant company and effort of Catarina Machado, Diogo Oliveira, Filipa Machado, Frederico Leite, Javier Vázquez, Pedro J. Garrote and Rita Ramos, volunteers who have been giving a great help to the accomplishment of this action.