Scientific Journal of the BirdLife Hungary

A Magyar Madártani és Természetvédelmi Egyesület tudományos folyóirata

Ornis Hungarica. vol.29(2). (2021) p.81-92.

Seasonal and age-specific dynamics of the Griffon Vulture’s home range and movements in the Eastern Rhodopes
Volen Arkumarev, Dobromir Dobrev, Anton Stamenov, Atanas Delchev & Stoycho Stoychev

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The spatial ecology of the Eurasian Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) has been a subject of scientific interest for long due to its conservation status, critical ecosystem role, gregarious lifestyle and complex foraging behavior. The trans-border Eastern Rhodope Mountain in Bulgaria and Greece holds an increasing population of the species and one of the largest on the Balkan Peninsula. We used high-frequency GPS data from 13 Griffon Vultures from this population to study their movements, home range size and its seasonal or age specific dynamics. The overall foraging home range (95% kernel) was 3,204 km2 and the core area of activity (50% kernel) was 256.5 km2. We found high seasonal variation of the home range size. Vultures were foraging over larger areas in the summer and spring but their activity was limited to four times smaller areas in winter. We found no age specific variation in the home range sizes but the non-adult vultures showed tendency to conduct exploratory movements far from the breeding colony. Our results can be used for planning conservation efforts in the areas of high importance for the species.