Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Birds in Spain – Andalucia – Griffon Vulture

Species: Griffon Vulture – Gyps fulvus – Buitre Leonado

Griffon Vulture adult
Polytypic. Nominate fulvus, North Africa, south and south-east Europe, south-west Asia south to Sinai, Arabia, and north-west Pakistan, and central Asia from Tadzhikistan to the Altai. Extralimital: fulvescens, from Sind and Kashmir through north and central India to Assam, north to Himalayan foothills.

Common resident. Although widespread throughout the province, it can be absent to very scarce in some areas (at least outside of periods for migration). Highest density of breeding birds is in the Cádiz and Málaga provinces. Numbers greatly increased during autumn migration period, as more northerly birds, mostly juveniles, migrate southwards. Some evidence to support local juveniles also migrate to Africa. Population remains artificially high, maintained by various feeding areas. Although relatively widespread, range is somewhat restricted due to the need for high cliffs or mountains for breeding and roosting. The only similar species likely to cause identification difficulties is Rüppell's Vulture Gyps rueppellii, see author’s note below.

Especie: Buitre Leonado - Gyps fulvus – Griffon Vulture

Politípica. Nomina fulvus, Norte de África, el sur y el sudeste de Europa, el suroeste de Asia al sur de Sinaí, Arabia, y el noroeste de Pakistán y Asia central de Tayikistán al Altai. Extralimite: fulvescens, de Sind y Cachemira a través del norte y centro de la India a Assam, al norte de estribaciones del Himalaya.

Residente en común. Aunque generalizada en toda la provincia, puede estar ausente o muy escasa en algunas áreas (por lo menos fuera de los períodos de migración). La mayor densidad de aves de cría se encuentra en las provincias de Cádiz y Málaga. Números aumentado considerablemente durante el período de otoño de la migración, como las aves más al norte, sobre todo los jóvenes, migran hacia el sur. Algunas pruebas en apoyo de los juveniles locales también migran a África. La población sigue siendo artificialmente alto, mantenido por diversas zonas de alimentación. Aunque relativamente extendida, la gama es un poco restringido debido a la necesidad de altos acantilados y montañas de cría y dormideros. La única especie similar puede causar dificultades de identificación se Buitre Moteado Gyps rueppellii, véase la nota del autor abajo.

Rüppell's Vulture top Griffon Vulture bottom
Author’s Note:
Sightings have increased in recent times for the African species of vulture Rüppell's Vulture G. rueppellii. Mostly these sightings have involved juvenile birds and they are distinct from their cousins G. fulvus. In typical flight, the action is similar to G. fulvus but lighter, with an easier take-off. Flight silhouette is also similar to G. fulvus, but soars and glides on level wings unlike that species. Both the adult and the immature are unmistakable, when barred under wing-coverts and/or scaled pattern of the upperwing visible. For comparisons of both species in flight see photograph to the left.

Nota del autor:
Los avistamientos se han incrementado en los últimos tiempos para las especies africanas de Buitre Moteado G. rueppellii. La mayoría de estos avistamientos han involucrado a aves jóvenes y que son distintos de sus primos G. fulvus. En vuelo normal, la acción es similar a G. fulvus pero más ligero, con un fácil despegue. silueta de vuelo es también similar a G. fulvus, pero se eleva y se desliza en las alas de nivel a diferencia de esa especie. Tanto los adultos e inmaduros son inconfundibles, cuando se prohibió bajo el ala-coberteras y / o escala patrón de los alares visibles, para las comparaciones de ambas especies en vuelo ver fotografía a la izquierda.

Distribution of G.fulvus in Andalusia
Distribución de G.fulvus en Andalucía

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The above article is an extract from Birds of Andalusia by Peter Jones. A collection of bird species articles can be found on the member's area of the Andalucia Bird Society main website.

If you have enjoyed reading this account of the Griffon Vulture or found it useful / interesting please do comment or tick your reaction below. Thank you.


stephonthehill said...

Thanks for your information. Do the griffon vultures sometimes fly in flocks? I live in Granada province, in the hills a few miles above the coast and once saw a flock of about 50 large birds which flew quite low over us. It was several years ago so I can't give a good description but the nearest I can find in guide books is buzzard or griffon vulture. I often see pairs of them. The locals call them aguilas but I don't think they're as large as eagles.

Peter Jones said...

Hi Stephen, to be at all accurate, or give an educated guess I would need time of year. Certainly flocking raptors could involve migrating birds such as Honey Buzzard, but this behaviour is applicable for migrants only. Vultures and particularly Griffon Vulture do flock at all times of the year, so it is likely you saw these. I hope this is helpful given the limited info you gave me? Peter

John Henworth said...

hello Peter
We have a Griffin Vulture in our rambler at the moment. First seen at seven this morning, still there at three.Was seen flying but only 5 foot off the ground. any advice?

John Henworth said...

Hello Peter.
We have a griffin Vulture in our rambler, first spotted at 7 this morning and still there at 5 tonight
It could only fly 5 feet off the ground. we live in Cucador Almeria

www.suewalker@inbox .com
Any advice please

Peter Jones said...

Hi John,

If the bird is still around and appears still to be struggling, ring your local office of Seprona, the green arm of the Guardia. They will know of any local centre for recuperation of these birds, they should also come and trap/collect the bird. I suspect it may well be a young bird which is starving.

Hope this helps.


John Henworth said...

Hello peter

The vulture seems to have gone today as if it was waiting for something

Thanks for you reply Sue