1335 Griffon Vultures crossed the Strait of Gibraltar in one day

By | 6 November 2014
Yesterday, 5 November, we had a fantastic day watching bird migration (or precisely vulture migration) around Jbel Moussa, on the southern side of the Strait of Gibraltar.
We have counted 1335 Griffon Vultures (Gyps fulvus) in 6 hours (between 10:00 and 16.00). The vultures crossed the Strait of Gibraltar mainly at Jbel Moussa, with some reached Africa at the eastern side of Jbel Moussa (Belyounech and Ceuta) and others at the Tanger-Med Port. This is a great number, and we don’t know anyone who has recorded such a number in a single day from this side of the Strait. Comments welcome!
Edit: Javier Elorriaga commented: “Great numbers really! We once counted nearly 1000 from Punta Cires, and 1800 have been recorded departing from Europe to Morocco in a single day by Fundación Migres in October 2008″.
The majority of the vultures were high and quite a distance away from our vantage point which rendered the detection of Rüppell’s Vultures (Gyps rueppellii) almost impossible, but certainly some have crossed as well (because many were with the Griffons during the last days at Tarifa in the northern shore of the Strait). However, not all the vultures were far and some flocks passed overhead or in front of us and allowed great views.
Another interesting record is the observation of a juvenile Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus), this is the latest date for this species in Morocco according the ‘Birds of Morocco‘. Comments welcome!
In total, we saw the following:
  • Black Stork (Ciconia nigra): 3
  • Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus): 1
  • Griffon Vultures (Gyps fulvus): 1335
  • Short-toed Snake Eagle (Circaetus gallicus): 7
  • Western Marsh Harrier (Circus aeruginosus): 1
  • Booted Eagle (Hieraetus pennatus): 1
Rachid El Khamlichi (all photographs), Khalid Chikri & Mohamed Amezian.
Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) and a ferry crossing the Strait of Gibraltar.

 

Griffon Vultures (Gyps fulvus)
One of the many flocks of Griffon Vultures (Gyps fulvus)
Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus): a juvenile migrating late.

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