Eurasian Black Vulture (Cinereous)
Accipitridae, eagle, hawks and kite family
Near threatened, IUCN
Northern Africa and Spain east through China and Thailand
Dry plains, grasslands and mountainous forests
The largest bird of prey in the Old World and one of the heaviest and largest of all raptors
This raptor is an immense bird with a wingspan of 7 to 9.5 ft., equal to that of a California condor. Adult birds are dark-brown; very young birds are jet black. They are broad-winged, with a massive powerful beak. The head is covered with thick, downy, dark feathers, giving the rear of the crown a tufted appearance. Bare areas are evident on the sides & back of the neck, and there is a frill of erectile feathers on each side of the neck. Partially feathered legs are short, ending in strong, blunt toenails.
Eurasian Black Vultures are not gregarious, preferring to hunt alone or with a mate. They usually form a life-long pair bond, breeding for the first time at between 5 and 6 years. Outside of breeding season, they continue to associate in pairs and often return to the nest site at night. Prefer nest sites in trees; however, may nest on ledges. The nests are huge, from 4-8 ft. in diameter, building up year after year. Pairs often engage in display rituals near the nest site, such as high circling with synchronized movements or interlocking talons and free falling. A single egg hatches after a 50-55 day incubation. Both parents take care of the young, with one adult remaining constantly with the chick for the first 2 months. Young are fed on material regurgitated by the adults. The entire nesting cycle takes about 8 months.