Tuesday 31 December 2013


The Government of Extremadura has published the results of the Black Vulture (also known as Monk or Cinereous Vulture) (Aegypius monachus) census of 2013 (see link), showing the highest ever known population of 897 breeding pairs. Furthermore, the breeding success of 806 pairs was monitored, showing that 590 young fledged, in other words a breeding success of 73%.  The first Black Vulture censuses, albeit only partially completed, were from 1974, when only 86 pairs were known in the whole region. With the passing of time, the quality of the censuses has significantly improved, but there was also a true increase in the population with the figures in 1990 reaching 404 pairs, in 2000 610 pairs and in 2006 to 829 breeding pairs. Since then the population has remained, with small fluctuations, between 800 and 900 pairs. One must take into account that this type of census will always underestimate the real population, owing to the difficulty of determining if pairs do breed or because some nests remain undetected (in order to do a thorough census it is reckoned that 16 visits are necessary). Notwithstanding these caveats, it is clear that Extremadura has the most important Black Vulture population in Europe. For further information about the population, evolution and distribution of the Black Vulture in Extremadura read here