The Eurasian Black Vulture (Aegypius monachus) has suffered a long period of decline in the 20th century mainly due to egg exploitation by egg collectors, poison baits and disturbance. However, the spanish population is currently increasing with an estimate of 2440 pairs (de la Puente et al. 2007).

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It draws attention the big difference in size between the enormous Black vulture and the smallest of all, the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus)

In Peninsular Spain, colonies are found in the south west with a unique island colony in Mallorca. With Monfragüe National Park holding the second biggest colony with 287 pairs, Extremadura holds almost half of the Spanish population with Spain having 90% of the European population. Therefore, its conservation is extremely important.

It mainly nest on Holm and Cork Oaks but also use pines, especially at higher elevations.

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With its almost 3 metres wingspam, the Black vulture silhouette is unmistakable

It is a long-lived bird, living up to 40 years and don´t reach sexual maturity until they are 4 years old. When they start mating they are faithfull to its mate during all its life. They start with the nuptial flight in January. In February-March lay one egg and incubate it for almost two months. The young leave the nest four months later.

References
– De Juana, E. & García, E. 2015. The birds of the Iberian Penísula. Christopher Helm. London

– De la Puente, J., Moreno-Opo, R. & del Moral, J.C. 2007. El buitre negro en España. Censo Nacional (2006). SEO/BirdLife. Madrid

 

Featured image by Ugo Mellone/Wildphoto.it

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