Verdon vultures: all you need to know to observe them
For 20 years, superb vultures have been reintroduced in the Verdon. You can observe several species in the sky.
Twenty years ago, the vultures had completely disappeared from the sky of the Verdon, and this for half a century. It is thanks to the involvement of passionate people that you can observe them again today. Indeed, naturalists launched a program to reintroduce vultures in 1999. 12 griffon vultures were released at this time in Rougon . Twenty years later, this project has borne fruit as many birds of different species fly over Provence and the southern Alps. Some can reach a wingspan of 2.65 meters and weigh up to 7-8 kg. They feed mainly on animal carcasses, sheep and lambs, but also wild boars, deer, chamois and other wild animals.
What species of vultures can we observe in the Verdon?
It is the first species that was introduced in 1999. Nearly a hundred griffon vultures were released between 1999 and 2005 near Rougon. You will easily identify it with its long wings and two-colored plumage on the upper parts. Its head is small and white. It measures between 95 and 105 cm and can reach a wingspan of 2.80 m!
The monk vulture
It was in 2005 that the monk vultures were reintroduced by the program while the colony of griffon vultures had been perpetuated. 11 monk vultures were released but not all of them remained in the Verdon. Observers affirmed that a pair of monk vultures reproduces regularly, thus contributing to the sustainability of the species. It is the largest of European raptors. It measures about one meter, for a wingspan between 2.5 and 2.95 meters. Young, its plumage is black while it later turns brown. Its wings are wide and long.
He is also nicknamed the Egyptian Vulture. The Egyptian vulture was not reintroduced within the framework of the program but it can however be observed in the sky of the Verdon. He has been breeding there since 2007. It measures between 56 and 75 cm for a wingspan of about 1.70 meters. Its wings are long and rectangular and its head narrow. Its plumage is brown when young and turns white and black when it reaches adulthood.
More occasionally, another species of vulture can be observed. It’s about Bearded vulture . It’s the biggest ! It can reach wingspan of up to 2.75 meters!
Where to observe vultures in the Verdon?
To see vultures, nothing could be simpler! In summer, you can follow the ridge route and stop at one of the many lookouts. Equipped with a pair of binoculars, you can admire them up close, especially near Rougon. You can also book an excursion with a vulture specialist, who will tell more about these raptors and take you to specific viewing spots.
During an outing in Rafting or in Aquatic hiking , on the routes of Sublime Point , of Tusset Bridge , of Samson corridor and of Imbut in the heart of Grand Canyon , you will have the opportunity to observe them circling in the sky above you.
Also note that vultures are not the only animals that you will be able to observe in the sky of the Verdon. You can also see these species: the Golden Eagle, the Peregrine Falcon, the Ravens or the Red-billed Choughs.