Until recently, the Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius monachus) was considered as an accidental visitor to Morocco (and Northwest Africa in general). But now it’s actually a regular migrant and wintering species in small numbers. Movements of the species across the Sahara to West Africa are even rarer, nevertheless a few birds have reached sub-Saharan Africa since 1994.
The last winter season in particular was very good for the Cinereous Vulture in West Africa. First, there was a Spanish-ringed bird at Iouik, Mauritania in December 2017 (the first for the country). Then, there were two different birds in Senegal: one near Fatick in January and another at Sagata in February 2018. And now it’s The Gambia’s turn.
On 24 February, members of the Fondo de Amigos del Buitre photographed and filmed a Cinereous Vulture while feeding with other vulture species at the ‘Occipitalis Station’ in The Gambia. This is the first known record of the Cinereous Vulture for the country.
Context of the observation
The ‘Occipitalis Station‘ project was initiated in 2012 by the Fondo de Amigos del Buitre (FAB) in Saruja, The Gambia. The objective of the project is to help protect the local African vulture populations and for that reason a Supplementary Feeding Station was created there.
Last February, the FAB members Manuel Aguilera, José Manuel Hiniesto and Monica Del Río made their sixth expedition to The Gambia. And this observation was made in the framework of the vulture monitoring carried out by the team at the Occipitalis Station.
Thanks to Monica Del Río for letting us know about this observation, and for sharing the photo and video below.
– First record of Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius monachus) for Mauritania (Dec. 2017). Lists also all previous records in sub-Saharan Africa.