3500 Griffon Vultures crossed the Strait of Gibraltar at Jbel Moussa

By MaghrebOrnitho | 28 October 2015

In less than 1 hour this morning, more than 2300 Griffon Vultures (Gyps fulvus) have crossed the Strait of Gibraltar, and passed above Jbel Moussa, northern Morocco. At the time of writing this (12h44), some smaller groups are still crossing.By late afternoon, over 3500 Griffon Vultures have been estimated to have crossed the Strait towards Morocco. This shows that the number of Griffon Vultures migrating to Africa have greatly increased, as this number was estimated at between 3000 and 4000 birds in spring 2009 (Fundación Migres 2010). Between 1 May and 7 July 2015, 2138 Griffons Vultures (see table in page 7) were counted at Jbel Moussa migrating north.

Javier Elorriaga, who has studied raptors at the Strait of Gibraltar (and elsewhere) for years, commented the following about today’s vulture migration (the comment not edited):

Biggest day ever for Griffon Vulture migration in the Strait of Gibraltar today, as seen by Moroccan Birds fellows. Probably the biggest concentration of Griffons ever recorded in the Paleartcic as well…This is a world class natural wonder…only possible in the Strait of Gibraltar!

Despite this big number, many vultures are still in southern Spain and haven’t crossed the Strait yet. Flaki Sanchez Chico shared a picture (the last one) showing hundred of Griffon Vultures still at Tarifa waiting to cross, and commented about this big migration by the following:

Y el resto, los tengo yo en el parque eólico de Tahivilla (Tarifa)

(And the rest, I have them at the Tahivilla wind farm, Tarifa)

Also crossed today, 2 Rüppell’s Vultures (Gyps rueppellii) and 2 Bonelli’s Eagles (Aquila fasciata). The latter is a sedentary species in Europe and rarely cross the Strait to Morocco.
En français:

Plus de 3500 Vautours fauves migrent au Jbel Moussa, record pour l’espèce au Maroc.

Rachid El Khamlichi
Griffon Vultures circling above Jbel Moussa after they have just crossed the Strait of Gibraltar.
One of the Griffon Vulture’s flocks above Jbel Moussa, what a sight!
One of the Griffon Vulture’s flocks above Jbel Moussa
Rüppell’s Vulture (Gyps rueppellii), Jbel Moussa
Bonelli’s Eagle (Aquila fasciata), Jbel Moussa
Hundreds of Griffon Vultures (and most likely other species like Rüppell’s Vulture) are still waiting at Tarifa (Spain). This picture was taken at Tahivilla Wind Farm near Tarifa by Flaki Sanchez Chico.


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