Exceptional phenomenon: a Rüppell’s vulture, coming from Africa, observed only three times in 20 years in Aveyron

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In the Gorges du Tarn, Rüppell’s Vulture has only been observed three times in 20 years. Its presence is rare in Europe. According to the League for the Protection of Birds (LPO) Grands Causses, the presence of a specimen from sub-Saharan Africa was discovered on January 6, 2023. The raptor would have followed a colony of Spanish griffon vultures.
We know how this Rüppel’s vulture arrived in the Tarn gorges in southern Aveyron, but ornithologists are struggling to explain why.
For Clément Ganier, member of the League for the Protection of Birds (LPO), Grands Causses, who observed its presence on January 6, 2023 and photographed the specimen in flight on February 10, it is rare to observe this bird in Europe. . Above the Gorges du Tarn, it has only been reported three times in twenty years.
A rare presence in Europe and France
It is a species that comes from sub-Saharan Africa, it is not present in Europe. It is assumed that he ended up here by following Spanish griffon vultures, some migrating to Africa. There can be an erraticism (without coherence) in certain individuals who will seek new colonies, new territories, suddenly they will be led to move, it happens.

Since then, the individual would have deserted South Aveyron, we have not seen him for a month, specifies Clément Ganier, but he would have been seen in the sky of the Alpes-Maritimes.
An African species like this in France is quite rare, the presence of only about ten individuals has been mentioned, adds Clément Ganier,
In Aveyron, the phenomenon is moreover rather recent: the first valid mentions in the Grands Causses were made in 2017, 2018 and in 2021, it is very rare to observe these species.
Could the raptor stay on our territories and return to Aveyron? We are less sure, but in Portugal, there was a Rüppell’s vulture which lived for ten years in a colony of vultures, specifies the ornithologist.

Rüppell’s vulture, its presence observed in the Tarn gorges.

© Clément Ganier – LPO Grands Causses.

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