Significant population of Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus found in Morocco
The Egyptian Vulture Neophron percnopterus population in Morocco has undergone a marked decline since the 1980s to the point of nearing local extinction in the twenty-first century. A field study of some possible sites for Egyptian Vultures was carried out over six days during June 2014 in the Middle Atlas Mountains, Morocco. We counted a total of 48 Egyptian Vultures at three different localities: two occupied breeding sites and one communal roost that hosted 40 vultures of different ages. A (probable) singe adult bird at the breeding site was located and a previously occupied site was also visited. A preliminary survey amongst local people indicated that threats faced by this species are predator poisoning in some areas, and the use of vulture parts for traditional medicine. Given that the species is considered globally Endangered and populations continue to decline in many areas, the discovered population reported here, although relatively small, is of national and regional (North-west Africa) importance. We expect this new situation will revive the hopes for studying and conserving this and other vulture species in Morocco and North-west Africa in general.
Keywords: communal roost, Egyptian Vulture, Endangered raptor, Neophron percnopterus, nesting, North Africa