Meet the birds – Egyptian Vulture project

Introducing Anya, Arys, Timur and Bukhara! These four special birds are Egyptian Vultures, fitted with GPS satellite tags, as part of an exciting new project in Uzbekistan.

The aim of the project is to identify migration routes and wintering areas of Endangered Egyptian Vultures living in Central Asia. We are helping with this project by providing satellite tags to fit to the vultures, including the one fitted to the vulture named Bukhara.

We are thrilled to be involved in this new conservation project, run by Dr Robert (John) Burnside, at the University of East Anglia, Vladimir Dobrev (Bulgarian Society for Protection of Birds), Anna Ten and Valentin Soldatov (Institute of Zoology, Uzbekistan).

Migration can be a very dangerous time for many birds and data shows that migratory birds are declining faster than other populations. There two distinct populations of Egyptian Vulture, one across Africa, the Middle East and Europe and the other across Central Asia. This research is taking place in Uzbekistan as it is in the perfect location to target migratory birds in the Central Asian population.

Left: Vulture Anya in the nest, right: Map showing the three nest sites in Uzbekistan

The team recently fitted four tags to juvenile vultures that were almost ready to fledge. The landscape in the photos is the Kyzylkum Desert, where the team identified areas used by the vultures for nesting in order to find birds to tag. So far the team have satellite tagged four vultures, Bukhara and Timur at one nest, and Anya and Arys at two other nests.

The team are tracking the birds with satellite telemetry to gather data about their movements. This enables analysis of the routes used during migration, shows us where the birds stop off on the way and where they spend the winter. All four birds have started their migration south and we are very excited to share more detailed information very soon so watch this space for news.

Left: Bukhara and Timur in their nest, right: the cliff scaled to reach their nest!

This is a very important project, and we are delighted to be part of it, especially given how wonderfully our Egyptian Vulture at the Trust, Boe, has been flying recently. Boe gives us the perfect opportunity to fly the flag, and raise awareness, about the conservation of this fascinating and important species.

Left: Researcher Anna with Arys, right: the view from Arys’ nest, the Kyzylkum Desert

The project is ongoing, and the team plan to tag more birds in future, to gain a more in depth analysis of their movements and the threats they face. Keep an eye on our social media to see how it progresses!

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