Update on the tagged wild Egyptian vultures from Bulgaria and Greece

The Egyptian vulture Jenny tagged in Bulgaria in 2015 (photo: Pavel Stepanek)

Since 2012, a total of 27 Egyptian vultures were tagged under The Return of the Neophron project (out of them 3 were captive-bred birds tagged in 2016). Currently only 7 birds are still alive: Iliaz (out of 9 birds tagged in 2012; 1 adult and 8 juveniles), Sanie (out of 10 juvenile birds tagged in 2013), Aoos, Boris and Jenny (adults - all of them tagged in 2015), Maria and Elodie (out of 4 juvenile birds tagged in 2016, three of them were captive-bred).

Do parents migrate with their juveniles?

This year we tagged the fledgling (called Maria) in the nest of adult male Boris (tagged in 2015 in Bulgaria) in order to see if the parent will migrate together with the juvenile and if they follow similar itinerary. Both birds started to migrate on 24th of September, but they were flying with different speed and followed different itineraries. For just 8 days Boris covered 2,500 km reaching Saudi Arabia, flying straight through Bosphorus, Ankara, Adana and Iskenderun in Turkey, and crossing Syria and Jordan. For the same period, Maria covered less than the half of this distance (1,100 km), hesitating in the area of Thrace (Greece) and Dardanelles (Turkey), but finally crossing through Bosphorus. Hopefully, when reaching the coast of Adana Through, followed the coast to northeast to Mersin (currently she is still in Turkey). Actually, the juvenile and its father started to migrate differently since the first day: Boris flew 200 km and roosted on a high voltage pylon in the area of Corlu (Turkey), while Maria flew only 30 km and roosted in Bulgaria (Bjal Gradets).

What happened with the other tagged wild vultures?

Dobromir – (tagged as juvenile in 2012 in Bulgaria) who visited the vulture restaurant of BPPS in Vrachanski Balkan (Western Bulgaria) in early August, then flew northwest to Oreshets and started to follow the Danube river to the east reaching Adamclisi (southeastern Romania) where fed for two days in pasturelands. Dobromir started migration on 13/8/2016 flying south trough Eastern Bulgaria – over Dobrich, Provadia, Reservoir Tsonevo, Burgas wetlands and enters in Turkey via Starndzha Mountains. He crossed Turkey for about two weeks (17/8-2/9/2016), flew over the Sea of Marmara via Dardanelles and in the region of Soma changed the direction of light and went east to Eskisehir. He made two stops for “refueling” in the country: 3 days in the region of Kayalikoy and Kirklareli reservoirs and Pinarhisar, and 10 days in the area of Polatli (between Eskisehir and Ankara) where he fed on pastures and rubbish dumps, and very often roosted on high voltage pylons. On 2-3/9/2016 flew through Syria, on 3-7/9/2016 flew through Jordan and on 7-8/9/2016 crossed Saudi Arabia. On 9/9/2016 flew over the Gulf of Aqaba and entered in Sinai Peninsula and on 11/9/2016 flew over Suez Gulf and entered Africa. On 13/09/2016 reached Sudan and settled in the area of Northern Kordofan. Unfortunately, on 25/9/2016 Dobromir died (probably killed) as the coordinates are from the village Halasa, while on 27/9/2016 the last coordinates are from a building in the settlement Barah.

During its 5 years lifetime, Dobromir took one of the longest documented journeys of Egyptian vultures from the Balkans, flying over 30,000 km and crossing about 20 countries on 3 continents. For first time it was him to show that Balkan Egyptian Vultures can migrate through Caucasus and Iran. The winters of 2014/2015 and 2015/2016 Dobromir spent in Ethiopia (Afar) and Sudan.

Iliaz the only survivor (tagged as a juvenile) out of 9 birds tagged in 2012. In summer 2016 it was floating in Eastern Rhodopes, Bulgaria. Started migration on 26th August. It flew over Bosphorus on 28/8/2016 and in the period from 30/8 to 2/9/2016 stayed in the area of Beypazari probably for “re-fueling”. On 4/9/2016 Iliaza entered Syria and after four days it entered in Jordan. A day later it entered in Saudi Arabia and followed the coast of the Red Sea to Yemen (entered in the country on 18/9/2016), wondered fore few days in the desert area in the SW part of the country and on 25/9/2016 crossed the Red Sea through Bab-el-Mandeb and entered in Djibouti. On 27/9/2016 Iliaz entered in Ethiopia and currently stays in Afar region.

Sanie(tagged as a juvenile in 2013 in Bulgaria) spending the summer in Eastern Rhodopes and started migration on 21/8/2016. On 22/8/2016 Sanie flew over Istanbul and crossed Bosphorus. For few days (23-26/8/2016) it stayed in Beypazari area for “refueling” and then continued southeast but flying some 300 km east from the traditional migration road through Adana and Iskenderun. On 29/8/2016 Sanie entered Syria and on 1/9/2016 - in western Iraq. Sanie crossed Jordan and on 5th of September entered Saudi Arabia. For few days stayed in the mountains in the area of Al Bad, but after that continued to fly south along the Red Sea coast and on 17/9/2016 reached Yemen where stayed for about a week in the area of Ta’izz until 24/9/2016 when crossed to Africa through Bab-el-Mandeb, flew through Djibouti and settled for wintering in Afar region, Ethiopia.

Aoos is an adult female Egyptian vulture breeding in Sothern Albania but often visiting and feeding in Epirus, Greece, where it was trapped and tagged in Konitsa, Epirus, early 2015. This year Aoos successfully raised one fledgling and started migration on 21/9/2016. She flew through Dadia, crossed the Sea of Marmora via Dardanelles, went through Konya and when reached the area of Mersin, started to fly along the coast in northeastern direction to reach Adana and then fly southeast to Iskenderun. She crossed Syria and Jordan and currently is in Egypt, west of Gulf of Suez continuing her journey to the south.

Jenny is an adult female, tagged in Bulgarian part of Eastern Rhodopes in 2015. Interestingly, she delayed on the way to the breeding grounds in the spring 2016 and did not participate in the breeding this year but stayed as a floater in the area. Her nest was occupied by another female. She started migration on 19/8/2016 from the Eastern Rhodopes, where she has been settled during the summer. She flew through Istanbul and crossed Bosphorus. In Turkey, similarly to Dobromir, stayed for a while (22-23/8/2016) for refueling in the area of Polatli, and similarly to Sanie flew some 300 km on the east of the coast of Adana and Iskenderun, passing near the Ataturk Reservoir. She flew through Syria, Jordan, Israel, Egypt (crossed the Suez Channel on 2/9/2016 and crossed Nile near Asut on the next day). In the next week she flew over 1,600 km and on 8/9/2016 reached her final wintering destination – Chad. Since 13/9/2016 she settled in the area of Batha, NE of Fitri Lake. Overall, she flew ca. 5,000 km for 25 days, with in average 200 km daily run.



Migration map of Boris and his juvenile Maria
The site where Dobromir died on 25/9/2016 (Halasa settlement, Sudan)
On 27/9/2016 the tag of Dobromir transmitted signal from Barah, Sudan.
Egyptian vultures often roost of high voltage pylons along their flyway.
Useful information
Where is B14?

Where is B14?

The breeding performance of the Egyptian Vulture population in Bulgaria is among the highest in Europe

The breeding performance of the Egyptian Vulture population in Bulgaria is among the highest in Europe