Protocolo Avifauna - Bird protection on distribution lines







  • Implementation of anti-electrocution insulation measures or on anti-collision devices in 700 km of medium/high tension power lines.


Implementation of bird mortality mitigating measures in continental Portugal including several classified areas (important bird and biodiversity areas, Natura 2000 Special Protection Areas). Beyond Portugal, the mitigation measures are suitable for implementation in any country with the same objective.  

Main information:

Power line induced avian mortality is main threat for several endangered bird species, contributing to population decline for several species and threatening the viability of some bird communities. In order to reduce mortality and prevent the decline of species, Portuguese distribution system operator (DSO) E-REDES and 3 environmental NGOs (SPEA, QUERCUS, LPN) joined efforts to characterise bird mortality on power lines in Portugal. Together, they monitored more than 1670 km of power lines, thus enabling the identification of the most dangerous areas to implement mitigation measures, such as wire cabling and pylon retrofitting, within Natura 2000 areas (SPAs) and Important Bird Areas (IBAs). After years of measuring implementation and efficiency assessment on reducing avian mortality in Portugal, they were able to compare efficiency of different devices implemented, later using species-targeted and most efficient anti-collision and anti-electrocution devices.

The next step was to take more pro-active action, with the development an electrocution risk predictive model for a group of endangered species (Iberian Imperial Eagle, Golden Eagle, Egyptian Vulture, Cinereous Vulture and Griffon Vulture) as well as a predictive model for collision risk for the Great Bustard. Anti-electrocution and anti-collision devices were implemented on most dangerous power lines within these species’ territories, providing additional protection.

A crucial factor for this long-term collaboration was the active involvement of a multi-sector group of entities in a technical commission, including E-REDES as the national energy distribution company, and sector representative, environmental NGO and the Institute for Nature Conservation and Forests (ICNF) - the national conservation authority - to discuss, implement and evaluate new methodologies, devices and best practices in reducing avian mortality on electricity grids. This practice showcases a model long-term cooperation between environmental authorities, a grid operator and environmental NGOs. 

Additional information:

EDP Distribuição, the Portuguese electricity distribution company and part of the EDP group, collaborated with three environmental NGOs (SPEA, QUERCUS, LPN) and the INCF through a technical commission assessing the interactions between overhead lines and birds (CTLEA).

Besides Avifauna protocols E-REDES (formerly known as EDP Distribuição), also engaged with NGOs and ICNF in several European co-financed Programs (Interreg / LIFE) to enhance efforts to retrofit power lines in hotspot areas for target-species mortality mitigation and prevention.

RGI gratefully acknowledges the EU LIFE funding support:

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Funded by the European Union. Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or the LIFE Programme. Neither the European Union nor the granting authority can be held responsible for them.