Migration and wintering of released Italian Egyptian Vultures Neophron percnopterus. First results

Ceccolini G. , Cenerini A., Aebischer A.

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Abstract:

The migration of two young Egyptian vultures Neophron percnopterus (Barbara and Arianna) born in captivity could be studied for the frst time by means of satellite telemetry. The two females were born in 2006 in the captive breeding station of Rocchette di Fazio (GR, Italy) from parents of Spanish origin and released two months later through the hacking method in Laterza (Puglia Region, Italy). The two vultures were inserted in a hollow of a rock-face on 30 July. After flying in the neighbourhood of the hack site for about two weeks, Barbara and Arianna started migrating south-west on 23 August. Barbara reached Sicily on 31 August and in the next days she wandered along the south-west coast of the island. The satellites got the last signals on 16 September. Arianna arrived in Sicily on 30 August and reached the island of Marettimo (Egadi) on 1 September. She then crossed Sicily Strait and reached Tunisia. After having crossed Tunisia and Algeria, Arianna arrived on 16 September in Mali, 25 days after the beginning of the migration. She reached the wintering grounds in central-east Mali four days later. The distance covered from the hack site to the wintering area is of 3915 km. After a short stay in Niger and Burkina Faso she returned to central-east of Mali where she spent the whole winter. The migration of Arianna seems to suggest that the vultures born in captivity are perfectly ft to be released and that the hacking method is effcient. Furthermore, this allowed us to discover for the frst time the wintering area of an Italian born in captivity Egyptian vulture.