Geographical Range Europe and northern Asia, from Spain to Japan
Habitat Forested areas in hills and mountains
Scientific Name Aegypius monachus
Conservation Status Near threatened

This magnificent bird is known in Europe and in many other areas as the Eurasian black vulture.

When seen from the ground, this massive bird resembles a small plane as it patrols the skies on its nine-foot wingspan. The cinereous vulture soars all day on warm air currents in search of food, primarily animal carcasses. When it lands at a kill site, its imposing size and strong beak are enough to chase away other scavengers.

Many farmers think of cinereous vultures as pests. Despite their protected status, they continue to be hunted and poisoned throughout their range.

Vultures in Trouble

Vultures are vanishing around the world at an alarming rate. Of the 23 species of vultures in the world, 11 are currently threatened. These birds are declining due to poisoning from feeding on medicated cattle carcasses, power line collisions and loss of food and habitat.

Vultures play a vital role in the environment by cleaning up carcasses and preventing the spread of disease. Conservationists around the world are monitoring populations and implementing measures to conserve vultures and their habitats.

How You Can Help Vultures

You can take action to help vultures by signing a petition to ban the veterinary drug diclofenac in Europe. The drug is used for treating treating cows and pigs in European countries. Vultures and eagles are at risk of death when they eat these contaminated carcasses.

Withdrawal of diclofenac is the only option that completely removes the risk to vultures. There are effective alternative drugs that can replace diclofenac and that are safe to the birds. Last year, the Convention on Migratory Species strongly advised all countries to ban veterinary use of diclofenac.

In the 1990s this drug caused a 95% decline of vultures in the Indian subcontinent, which led to successful ban of veterinarian diclofenac in India, Nepal and Pakistan in 2006.

Did You Know?

These vultures prefer to live in mountainous regions; they’ve even been sighted on Mt. Everest!