Global vulture populations are in rapid decline. And yet vultures play an essential role in maintaining healthy ecosystems. These misunderstood birds provide an invaluable service by picking carcasses clean and helping to prevent the spread of disease.

Since undertaking Malawi’s first vulture tagging project last November, we’ve deepened our understanding of how vultures are using the available landscape in Malawi. Together with our partners, our research project Conserving Malawi’s Vultures aims to address critical knowledge gaps identified by the Convention on Migratory Species’ Vulture Multi-species Action Plan.

Thanks to rangers, guides and wildlife enthusiasts, reports of sightings of tagged birds have demonstrated how vultures use the mosaic of parks and wildlife reserves in Malawi’s Southern Region. We’re learning how these areas provide important foraging, roosting and nesting sites for African White-backed Vultures and White-headed Vultures, both critically endangered species.

And now, in exciting news, our vulture project has just received its first international report. A White-backed Vulture has been resighted in Chisamba, just north of Zambia’s capital Lusaka. This individual was originally tagged by our team in Nyika National Park – that’s over 780km away!

This is the first vulture tagged in Malawi that has been reported outside of the country

“This is the first vulture tagged in Malawi that has been reported outside of the country,” said Olivia Sievert, our Research Manager. “We reckon the bird is around three-years-old – not yet breeding age. This is when this species seems to travel much further distances.”

In our previous update, the vultures tagged in Nyika National Park had yet to be reported outside of the Nyika Plateau. This latest resighting really helps to widen our understanding of vulture movement within the larger region – a significant step forward in better understanding and protecting these keystone species.

A huge thank you to Frank Willems and Mary Malasa of BirdWatch Zambia’s Vulture Conservation Project for this important record! And to all those across Malawi who continue to provide resighting reports, as well as our project partners: Department of National Parks and Wildlife, Endangered Wildlife Trust, Hawk Conservancy and African Parks.


You can play a vital role in increasing our understanding of endangered vultures. If you see a vulture with a wing tag please contact us with the following details:

• Colour of wing tag
• Number on wing tag
• Date and time of sighting
• Location (please be as specific as possible)

Email or call/message Malawi’s Wildlife Emergency Hotline: +265 (0)88 4488 999 / +265 (0)99 8597 938