Staffan Widstrand / Rewilding Europe

Black vulture

MVA_2008-12-10-115036

Black vulture
Markus Varesvuo / Wild Wonders of Europe

Biology and ecology

Black vulture is a resident species that forages over many kinds of open terrain including forest, open grasslands and bare mountains. Black vulture selects its nesting habitat in undisturbed areas, in mature vegetation patches. Nests are built in trees, often aggregated in loose colonies or nuclei. Its diet consists mainly of carrion from medium-sized or large mammal carcasses. Black vulture searches for food either in groups or individually,  sometimes joining the Griffon vulture groups.

It lays its eggs during the December-January period depending on the climate peculiarities of the season. The young birds are hatched in February or March and are not leaving the nest untill the end of July or August. The nests form a loose colonies. In the Greek part of the Easthern Rhodopes Black vultures build their nests high up on century –old pine-trees located on extremely steep slopes or gullies.

Usually there is a rock or big tree to it used for a close scrutiny of the whole region.The young birds stay with their parents and live in families untill they reach maturity. Occasionally they do far-reached wandering migrations and reach maturity on their sixth year.

Conservation status

Black vulture is classified as Near Threatened (NT) in the IUCN Red List.

Threaths

  • Poisoning after illegal use of poison baits targeted at large carnivores (e.g. wolves, jackals) to protect livestock and game.
  • Lead poisoning by hunting ammunition, effect of veterinary drug contamination.
  • Reduced food availability.
  • Direct persecution.
  • Electrocution end collision caused by electric transfer networks.