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Egyptian vulture survey on the island of Masirah, Oman (c) NMNHS

Egyptian vulture survey on the island of Masirah, Oman

16 May 2024 13:20

Ivaylo Angelov, a PhD student at the National Museum of Natural History at the Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, participated in a research project on Egyptian vultures (Neophron percnopterus) on the island of Masirah, Oman, as part of a project led by the Environment Society of Oman (ESO). This work builds on previous research commissioned by ESO in 2012, which involved Ivaylo Angelov and ecologist Mike McGrady, PhD, who are providing a baseline for the study. In 2012, a high density of Egyptian vultures (52 territories occupied by pairs) was recorded, indicating a significant increase in the island’s population. The current survey, lasting 9 days, aimed to understand population numbers after a 12-year gap. The team visited all territories identified in 2012, observing various changes that occurred on the island over the past decade. The most noticeable changes included the partial closure of the rubbish dump after 2015 and interspecific competition from species such as white storks (Ciconia ciconia) and brown-necked ravens (Corvus ruficollis). Both of these changes could influence territory occupation, population numbers, and food availability, potentially decreasing the area’s suitability to support very high vulture densities.

The team is further analysing the data and validating these observations. They will be examining the increasing percentage of dispersing young adults and comparing Egyptian vulture densities to the 2012 baseline. The Environment Society of Oman will continue its research on the distribution, numbers, and health of Egyptian vultures on Masirah Island and will continue to raise awareness about the species among various audiences in Oman. A Raptors of Oman booklet and poster, and Resident Vultures of Oman infographic can be freely downloaded from the ESO’s Website Resources Page.

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