Distribution of the Egyptian vulture in Niger
The Egyptian Vulture (EV), despite declining numbers, is still widely spread and can be found on different continents: Asia, Europe and Africa. Being a long migratory bird, it can easily fly from a continent to another. In Africa, the Sahelo-Saharan region is one of their destination, flying 4,000 km from Eastern Europe mainly, to this warmer land where they can spend the winter.
One of the hosting countries is Niger, where they stay, particularly in the South-East. The areas where EVs can mostly be found are the region of Zinder and Maradi, near Nigeria.
LIFE 16 NAT/BG/000874- Egyptian vulture repartition in Niger
In these parts of the country, the white scavenger is well known, and can be observed all year long. In addition of being a wintering area, Niger also constitutes a breeding area with a small population of resident birds which does not have to the carry out the long and risky seasonal migration. Both migratory and resident birds share this area made of dry plains with very few but vital water points, and small scattered villages surrounded by reddish rocky cliffs.
Although their presence is very well known in the country, detailed information about their distribution like their nesting territories was not documented, until recently.
Also, in the framework of the LIFE projects (the return of the Neophron and Egyptian vulture New Life) SCF has carried out field monitoring ofthe “sacred birds” in Niger, significantly improving the knowledge about the species. To do so, SCF team focuses on the main areas of the EVs (as presented on the following map) to collect data directly on the fieldwhere direct observations are more likely to happen, or indirectly based on reporting from local people.
Presentation of the area where SCF focuses on Egyptian Vultures
We started to be active in the Kellé region -the Mont Koutous (highlighted with a yellow spot on the map)- seeking for birds and active nests. Direct and indirect observations were made indeed, and new nests presence recorded, allowing a better understanding of EVs exact distribution in Niger. Finally, from what has been observed in the field at that time of the year, most of the EVs recorded in the Koutous’ region were resident.
We hope that our project achievements will not only increase the knowledge about EVs distribution, but also more generally, will encourage studies and surveys of resident and migratory populations by tagging birds in Europe and Africa, including Niger and track them thanks to satellite/GPS transmitter.