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Adult Rüppell’s Vulture observed in Mourão
21 November 2013

Once again, a Rüppell’s Vulture (Gyps rueppellii) was photographed at one of the feeding stations of Habitat Lince Abutre LIFE project.
This time, the observation took place at the feeding station of Galeana, a property located in Granja, municipality of Mourão, on November 9.

But the most outstanding of this sighting is the age of the photographed bird…
Contrarily to the previous occasions (an observation in another feeding station of the project and an individual tagged in Moura/Mourão/Barrancos SPA on last summer), in which both observed individuals were juveniles, the Rüppell’s Vulture now observed in the feeding station of Galeana was an adult…

Its presence was detected during monitoring, after a supply of the feeding station, having the photo captured the moment when this Rüppell’s Vulture was feeding on a carcass along with several dozens of Griffon Vultures (Gyps fulvus) and 3 Black Vultures (Aegypius monachus, the project’s target species).


Rüppell’s Vulture (on the right) and Griffon Vultures around a carcass

This is the first observation of an adult of this species in the scope of the project and one of the few ever recorded so far in the South of Portugal, where mainly juvenile individuals have been observed.

In addition to meeting its main objective (ensuring food availability for the populations of Black Vulture in the Southeast of Portugal), the feeding stations created by Habitat Lince Abutre LIFE project continue providing important information on the presence of other rare and threatened species (e.g. Rüppell’s Vulture, Spanish Imperial Eagle), as well as other information that are enabling a better knowledge on the community of scavenger birds of the region.

The area of occurrence of the Rüppell’s Vulture is the Sub-Saharan Africa. However, the number of sightings in the Iberian Peninsula has increased in the past decade, especially in areas where Griffon Vultures in migration are observed (Sagres, Strait of Gibraltar).
This specie resembles a Griffon Vulture, although smaller and with pale tips on its blackish-brown feathers, which give its plumage a scaled appearance.