Fourth Cinereous Vulture nest discovered in the Douro International Nature Park

The environmental NGO Palombar has discovered a fourth Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius monachus) nest in the Douro International area, where the smallest and most fragile colony of this species in Portugal is located. This is the largest of the European vultures and is in danger of extinction in Portugal.


The discovery was made as part of the monitoring of this species' 2024 breeding season, which is taking place as part of the LIFE Aegypius Return project, of which Palombar is a partner.


Since the beginning of February, Palombar technicians have been monitoring the Cinereous Vulture pairs already known to be nesting in the Douro International Nature Park. This breeding season, they have confirmed activity in the species' three existing nests in the region and now discovered one more. At first, Palombar's technicians found an adult Cinereous Vulture in the new nest. Subsequently, a pair was observed finalising the construction of the nest and in the process of mating.


This is an important discovery, given that this is the smallest Cinereous Vulture colony in Portugal, a species that only returned to nest in the Douro International in 2012, when the first nesting pair was recorded.


"Since this is a young pair (one of the individuals is still a sub-adult) there may not be breeding success this year, but in the next few weeks it will be possible to confirm that the only egg the species lays each breeding season has been laid and incubated", explained Iván Gutiérrez, a biologist at Palombar. "However, whether or not breeding success is confirmed this year, the fact that there is a new pair nesting in the Douro International is already excellent news", he added.


The other three pairs of Cinereous Vulturez confirmed to be nesting in the Douro International Nature Park are already incubating their eggs.


The LIFE Aegypius return project began in September 2022 and its main objectives are to increase the Cinereous Vulture population and improve its conservation status in Portugal. Within six years (2022-2027), it aims to double its breeding population in Portugal as well as increasing the number of colonies from four to five.





The LIFE Aegypius Return project aims to consolidate the return of the Cinereous Vulture to Portugal and western Spain. It is co-funded by the European Union's LIFE programme. Its success depends on the involvement of all the relevant stakeholders, and the collaboration of the partners, the Vulture Conservation Foundation (VCF), the coordinating beneficiary, and the local partners Palombar – Conservação da Natureza e do Património Rural, Herdade da Contenda, Sociedade Portuguesa para o Estudo das Aves, Liga para a Protecção da Natureza, Associação Transumância e Natureza, Fundación Naturaleza y Hombre, Guarda Nacional Republicana  and Associação Nacional de Proprietários Rurais Gestão Cinegética e Biodiversidade



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