Birds in Spain
by Ricard Gutiérrez, Javier Elorriaga/Fundación Migres & Stephen Daly
with photos from Stephen Daly, Javier Elorriaga, Alan Gilbertson, Ricard Gutiérrez, Daniel Kratzer, Kevin Lane and Pako Zufiaur
There are an increasing number of observations of Rüppell's Vulture in Spain, and particularly around the Straits of Gibraltar area, in autumn. September seems to be a good month to attempt discerning how many of those birds may be different and may be indeed different individuals. Bird having been lingering around most of S Spain might gather in the area prior to the main passage to Africa period of fellow Griffon Vultures, perhaps some Rüppell's crossing back too. This is an attempt from the material gathered either by people participating in Migres program counts, local observers input and visiting birders contributions.
Caution is needed when facing a dark Griffon-like vulture since there are some dark fulvus that might be taken (have been) for rueppellii. Observation of diagnostic facts such as spotted undertail coverts or dark overall streaked plumage, particularly when compared to close fulvus is reccommended.
Birds have been divided into those present in the East-North East Spain (Comunitat Valenciana) and those from Cádiz and Málaga (Andalucia). At least 12 birds would be lingering in Spain from late September - early October 2010, up to four having been seen simultaneously at Tarifa watchpoints, Cádiz.
If having flight shots of Rüppell's from 2010 in Spain, please send us a copy to attempt identifying which bird it is (gutarb AT hotmail DOT com). Thank you.
At least one bird present at Castelló on 3.9. As on September 2010 news page. No photo available but considered here different according to distance to the Straits (albeit not impossible to travel in a few days):
(2) Castelló. There was an immature at Zorita del Maestrat, Castelló on 3.9 (Jacint Cerdà).2nd record for Castelló and north-easternmost in Iberia.
In September and up to 29.9 perhaps up to 8 different birds were reported. Some with photos. Of these first three featured in the September 2010 news page of Rarebirdspain we don't have data to assign them to any of the below birds.
(1) Cádiz. There was one on 4.9 over Algarrobo bird observatory, Algeciras at 14:30 hours (Javier Elorriaga, Blanca Pérez, Troels L. Petersen/F. Migres). This same site is holding almost daily observations since 25.8.2010 (J.Elorriaga pers.com.)
(8) Cádiz. There was a bird at Casas Langavilla/Sierra del Cabrito on 19.9 (Daniel Kratzer). See a photo below. Other photos of a vulture in flight are not from this species but from a dark Griffon. Since we don't have flight photos we cannot tell this individual from the flight photographed below.
Photo above:© Daniel Kratzer 19.9.2010
In October 2010, 3 more birds were seen at Los Barrios dump and El Bujeo, Tarifa on 21.10 (Javier Elorriaga, Dario Delgado) but according to the photos they cannot be told from the birds below.
By the last two weeks of September a further number of observations were collected, some involving 4 birds at Cazalla watchpoing, immediately N of Tarifa town, Cádiz. All these birds were photographed and featured below:
Juvenile, Los Barrios dump, Cádiz
(10) Cádiz. On 10.9 a juvenile individual was photographed at Los Barrios dump (Alan Gilbertson)
Photo © Alan Gilbertson. Bird CA01. Los Barrios dump, 10.9.2010. The wear in tail is uniform. All primaries of the same age andmoderate wear in secondaries of both wings giving a rather pointed wind feather aspect.
At least two of the three subadult birds seen on 24.9.2010 at Cazalla bird observatory have been identified. One was photographed at the same site on 24.9.2010 (there were other photographers taking photos which are welcome) but the bird 'with a gap in the secondaries' appears to be the same seen on 27.9.2010 time 1805hrs. The bird was amongst a large group of Griffon Vultures feeding at a fallen cow at Cádiz province Military Zone close to La Janda, just off the N340 road (36o 13'48.38"N 5o 50'41.26"W), approx 10kms E of Vejer de La Frontera (Stephen Daly). Two photos below.
(4-6) Cádiz. There were 3 individuals (subadults all) at Cazalla bird observatory on 24.9: one with a gap in the secondaries/primaries; another with growing tail and another with regular tail but damaged secondaries (John Wright et al/Fundación Migres; Ricard Gutiérrez). One of these birds with regular tail was seen on 25.9 too (M.Lockwood et al)
Photo © Stephen Daly. Bird CA02. La Janda, 10 km E of Vejer de la Frontera, 27.9.2010. Tail in good shape. Obvious gap and missing secondary in left wing. All primaries same age. Broken tip of 5th visible outernmost right wing primaries.
Photo © Stephen Daly. Bird CA02. La Janda, 10 km E of Vejer de la Frontera, 27.9.2010. Note the broken tip in 5th visible outernmost right primary.
Photo © Javier Elorriaga. Bird CA02. 27.9.2010. Tarifa. Seen with other 4 vultures. Identity established on the basis of damaged feather (P6, 5th visible tip) numbered inwards in right wing and missing feather in left wing. Same day bird moved from coastal Tarifa to La Janda area
Subadult. Another of the three subadult birds seen on 24.9 at Cazalla bird observatory was one with an obvious growing tail, quite disctintive even in the distance.
(4-6) Cádiz. There were 3 individuals (subadults all) at Cazalla bird observatory on 24.9: one with a gap in the secondaries/primaries; another with growing tail and another with regular tail but damaged secondaries (John Wright et al/Fundación Migres; Ricard Gutiérrez). See a photo below (R.Gutiérrez). One of these birds with regular tail was seen on 25.9 too (M.Lockwood et al)
Photo © Ricard Gutiérrez. Bird CA03.Cazalla bird observatory, Tarifa. 24.9.2010. Note distinctive tail shape with two centrals in good shape, two outernmost and obvious gaps within. Gaps in innermost primaries/outermost secondaries.
(11) Cádiz. On 28.9 a juvenile individual was photographed at Cazalla, Tarifa, Cadiz (Stephen Daly)
Photo © Stephen Daly. Bird CA04. Cazalla, 28.9. Note the subtle differences with the other juvenile CA2 which has rounder tips and also seems to be darker. Besides the white underwing marks seem to be different and wider.
Photo © Kevin Lane. Bird CA05. Cazalla, 25.9. Note the missing feather that would be the visible 8th primary of left wing. Also note the gap in outermost secondaries/innermost primaries in right wing.
Photo © Pako Zufiaur. Bird CA06.Quite indistinct bird, but with worn feathering and missng 3rd left tail feather and some minor gaps to tertials and secondaries.
Photo © Pako Zufiaur. Bird CA07. Note growing 7th primary of left wing, apparently also growing 7th of right wing with further 3-4 innermost new primaries on both wings (3 well visible on left, 3 perhaps 4 on right) and worn, damaged outer six visible primaries. Pointed tips to secondaries and old tail.
Photo © Pako Zufiaur. Bird CA08.Note the diagnostic pattern in undertail coverts. Five old outermost primaries, 6th & 7th very dark, new and innermost also new looking browner. Secondaries very old. Gap in 3rd outermost tail feather. Recalls bird CA03 but that had at least four missing tail feathers (the gap here is smaller) and this photo is taken later in the year than the former
Photo © Pako Zufiaur. Bird CA09.Bird lacks the tip to 5th visible left wing primary. Pointed secondaries and moderately damaged tail.
An adult has been present for some time this summer-autumn in the Ronda area, Málaga:
(11) Málaga. On 29.9 an ADULT bird was seen at Ronda, Málaga, where it has been seen intermitently during the summer (Peter Jones / Andalucia Bird Society).
(5) Málaga. There was a subadult bird at Ronda, Málaga on 3.10 (Juan Luis Muñoz Roldán). See a photo below.
Photo above:© Juan Luís Muñoz 3.10.2010. Bird MA2. This individual coudl be one of the September Cádiz birds wandering North but so far we consider it possibly different, hence the quote (1-2) for Málaga province. Note damage and worn feathering.
RG wants to thank all the observers supplying records to the webpage and the Spanish Rarities Committee and Javier Elorriaga &, Stephen Daly for sharing their expertise, time and photographs.Also to all the contributors listed above: Pako Zufiaur, Kevin Lane, Alan Gilbertson, Peter Jones and Daniel Kratzer.
Gutiérrez, R., Elorriaga, J. & Daly, S. 2010. How many Rüppell's vultures do we have in Spain? An attempt to photo-identify the birds in autumn 2010. Retrieved from http://www.rarebirdspain.net/arbsi036.htm
How many Rüppell's vultures do we have in Spain? An attempt to photo-identify the birds in autumn 2010
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