An ongoing recovery
Vultures are perhaps the most iconic examples of European scavengers; the sight of these majestic birds soaring overhead on thermals or feeding at a carcass can be truly captivating.
Two centuries ago, Egyptian, bearded, cinereous and griffon vultures were among the most common breeding bird species in central and southern Europe. Yet a decreasing availability of food, coupled with habitat loss, persecution and poisoning, saw vultures disappear from most European countries (Portugal, France, Italy, Austria, Poland, Slovakia and Romania). At their lowest point, in the 1960s, there were only 2,000 pairs of griffon vultures and 200 pairs of cinereous vultures left in Spain.
Thanks to reintroductions and species protection, European vulture populations are now slowly but steadily recovering. In many regions, the spectacular sight of vultures soaring through the sky has once again become a common sight.