Eurasian Black Vulture

The Eurasian Black Vulture (Aegypius monachus) is the only species in the genus Aegypius. It also goes by the names Monk Vulture, Cinereous Vulture, or simply Black Vulture. It is a very large bird of prey in the family Accipitridae which also includes many other diurnal raptors such as kites, buzzards and harriers.

This Old World vulture is not related to the New World vultures which are in a separate family Cathartidae. It is therefore also unrelated to the American Black Vulture despite the similar name and plumage coloration.

This bird can be found across southern Europe and Asia from Spain to Japan, however is considered endangered throughout its European range. It is resident except in those parts of its range where hard winters cause limited movement.

This species prefers to breed in high mountains and large forests, nesting in trees. It has dark plumage and even at a distance can be distinguished from the Griffon Vulture by its evenly broad “barn door” wings. It is typical for a vulture, having a “bald” head and dark markings around the eye, which give it a menacing skull like appearance.

The Eurasian Black Vulture is typically larger than Griffon Vulture. Its more powerful bill is better suited to initially opening carcasses, and it takes priority over Griffons at corpses.