Cinereous vulture (Aegypius monachus)

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The cinereous vulture (Aegypius monachus) is a large raptorial bird that is distributed through much of Eurasia. It is also known as the black vulture, monk vulture, or Eurasian black vulture. It is a member of the family Accipitridae, which also includes many other diurnal raptors such as kites, buzzards and harriers.


Males can weigh from 6.3 to 11.5 kg (14 to 25 lb), whereas females can weigh from 7.5 to 11.5 kg (17 to 25 lb). It is thus one of the world’s heaviest flying birds. Females are the same size as than males.

The cinereous vulture is distinctly dark, with the whole body being brown excepting the pale head in adults, which is covered in fine blackish down.  The skin of the head and neck is bluish-gray and a paler whitish color above the eye. The adult has brown eyes, a purplish cere, a blue-gray bill and pale blue-gray legs. The primary quills are often actually black. From a distance, flying birds can easily appear all black. The immature plumage is sepia-brown above, with a much paler underside than in adults. Immature cinereous vultures have grey down on the head, a pale mauve cere and grey legs.

After more than 60 years of absence, it was reported several times in the Dobrogea area.

photo: Mihai BACIU


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