Black Vulture

Monk Vulture, Eurasian Black Vulture

Aegypius monachus Linnaeus, 1766

Vultur monachus L.: Farman, 1868: 407; Hristovich, 1890: 187, Reiser, 1894: 135; Klain, 1909: 69.

Order Falconiformes

Family Accipitridae

Conservation status: in Bulgaria: Extinct EX= B[1(a+b(iii))] + C[2a(i)] + D, BDA-II, III; International: IUCN-NT; CITES-II, BeC-II, BoC-II, ECS-Spec 1, BD-I.

General distribution. a Mongol-Tibetan species. In Europe it breeds in isolated habitats: a total number of about 1800 pairs.

Distribution and abundance in Bulgaria. Resident and wandering species. Breeding was registered in the 19th century: in 1865 and 1866 there were 3 nests, and in 1877 one [2] [3]. For 1985, the breeding of 1-2 pairs is supposed [4]. The last known habitat of a multiplying pair is from 1993 [5], when a nest was found, and in 1994 the pair did not inhabit it. For 2006, episodic breeding of not more than 2 pairs is supposed. Birds observed in Bulgaria breed in Greece and visit the country when looking for food. As a result of nature conservation activities and regular feeding, in the region of the river Bjala Reka and in the Valchi Dol reserve, permanent groups of 6-8 individuals are periodically observed [6, 7]. The largest group of feeding Black Vultures (42 individuals) was registered at a site near the village of Pelevun in 2000 [6]:

Habitats. Valleys of large rivers or reservoirs with shrub or grass associations, most characteristic in the Eastern Rhodopes.

Biology. It breeds in thin colonies or in singular individuals, building the nests mostly in the crown of the trees, rarely on rocks. Sexual maturity is reached at 6-7 years of age. The female lays one egg that it incubates for 50-55 days. The young one flies from the nest at the age of 3-3,5 months. It feeds on carrion (mainly middle-sized and large corpses of domestic and wild animals) [8].

Similar species. Similar to the other species of vultures.

Negative factors. Loss of habitats, reduction of the nutrition base, disturbance, poisoning, illegal hunting.

Conservation measures. A protected species since 1962, included in the Balkan Vulture Action Plan (BVAP) [9] envisaging both in-situ activities and measures for breeding in artificial conditions and re-introduction. Regular artificial feeding and monitoring, including telemetric follow-up, are organized. Information captions are prepared, social campaigns are waged in defense of vultures and against the use of poisons and illegal shooting. Possibilities for its re-introduction in appropriate habitats are discussed.

References. 1. Nankinov et al., 2004; 2. Farman, 1968; 3. Radakoff, 1879; 4. Michev, 1985; 5. Marin et al., 1993; 6. Ornithological Database, Green Balkans, Plovdiv; 7. Ornithological Database, BSPB; 8. Cramp et al., 1983; 9. Action Plan for the Restoration and Conservation of Vultures in the Balkans and the Neighbouring Regions.

Authors: Simeon Marin, Petar Iankov, Ivelin Ivanov, Marin Kurtev

Black Vulture (distribution map)

Black Vulture (drawing)