[WATCH] Egyptian vulture spends the night in Malta

Another Egyptian vulture spent the night in the outskirts of Rabat, before leaving on Thursday morning to continue on its migratory journey

Another Egyptian vulture roosted in Malta on Wednesday. The rare and endangered bird arrived in Malta in the afternoon and after spending the night in the outskirts of Rabat, left early on Thursday morning to continue on its migratory journey.

In a statement, BirdLife said its volunteers participating in the annual Raptor Camp monitored the bird until its departure. It said that unlike the Egyptian vulture Leonardo, that visited Malta during the first week of September, yesterday’s bird did not appear to have been satellite-tagged and its arrival in Malta was unannounced.

Leonardo had landed in Malta on 3 September and came from an Italian conservation programme. It was being tracked thanks to a satellite tag.

"In the case of yesterday’s Egyptian vulture, the bird was first seen coming in over Buskett and identified as a juvenile from its brownish colour. It was followed by our staff and camp volunteers. After it spent the night in the area, it was again sighted and followed early this morning until it left from the Dingli area. For the second time this month our Raptor Camp proved crucial to ensure the safety of such a highly-prized bird until it left the Maltese Islands," BirdLife Malta said.

The NGO said the camp was organised to monitor illegal hunting of wild birds during the period when the peak autumn migration coincides with the hunting season. "During this year’s camp, teams of local and international volunteers visit various hunting hotspots around Malta and Gozo to watch over the migration of hundreds of protected species that migrate through the islands at this time of the year."

BirdLife Malta said the Egyptian vulture’s visit proves once again how important a resting place Malta is for vulnerable birds.

"Juvenile birds like this one would have probably hatched in Italy, thanks to huge conservation efforts made there, and protecting it during its first-ever migration to Africa is crucial to see this species making a comeback in Europe. Juvenile Egyptian vultures may spend a few years in Africa before returning as adults to Europe to breed, so protecting these young birds is an investment in their future."

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