Griffon Vulture migration, an overlooked wonder

From late September to December, thousands of Griffons from all over the Iberian Peninsula disperse southwards and reach the Strait of Gibraltar. Once here, and before facing the risk of making the sea crossing to Africa, they gather in large thermalling flocks, which may reach over 1000 individuals!

Equally remarkable is their return migration in the late spring. After their quest in Africa, Griffons struggle to reach Europe by crossing the Strait, a task often hampered by the aggressiveness of the Yellow-legged Gulls, which may result in the vultures falling into the sea and drowning.

Moreover, these large flocks of Griffons often conceal nice surprises such as the Rüppell´s Vulture, a rare visitor from the western Sahel in Africa. This is, no doubt, a major birding spectacle and one that is, surprisingly, not particularly well known by either nature lovers or researchers.