It's official : Europe now counts 5 species of vultures !

We welcome a new bird in Europe : the Rüppell’s vulture!

The Rüppell's vulture (Gyps rueppelli) is a native of the Sahel region, in Africa, which was recently classified by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature and its Resources (IUCN) in the category "Critically Endangered", the last category before global extinction.

He looks like a Griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) but, in adulthood, he has pale spots all over its greyish plumage, as shown on this picture. However, it is difficult to distinguish between the two species when they are juveniles or immature.
Their population, and that of other African vultures, is drastically decreasing in Africa, mainly because of successive and frequent cases of mass poisoning and they now seem to enjoy Andalusia. These last few years, the Rüppell’s Vulture has often been counted in most feeding stations next to its local counterpart, the Griffon Vulture.

This African visitor can now be seen in Andalusia all year long, regardless of peaks of migration and it concerns all age groups. This species is undeniably a new member of local wildlife.

But how did this species come to Andalusia ?

It seems that during the migration of Griffon vultures to Africa, some scattered Rüppell’s vultures join groups of Griffon vultures to feed and they then follow them during the crossing of the strait of Gibraltar, thus ending up in Spain!
Some specialists have established a link between its presence in the north of the Mediterranean basin and the possible effects of climate change. This would be a consequence of the "Africanization" of the climate. However, this is not confirmed yet.

Thus, this news makes us realize that we must adapt and adapt conservation plans to the new challenges of an ever-changing world. It also underscores, once again, the importance and urgency of global action regarding the threats of poisoning facing vultures, the main threat according to the Vulture Conservation Foundation.

 

Read the source articles for more information :
https://www.4vultures.org/europes-5th-vulture-species/
https://medioambienteand.wordpress.com/2019/08/28/the-rupells-vulture-settles-down-in-andalusia/
 

Learn more about poisoning threats :
http://rapaces.lpo.fr/sites/default/files/milan-royal/3496/lpolivretpoison15x15web-1.pdf