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Cinereous Vulture

Regenstein Birds of Prey

Did You Know?

  • Cinereous vultures are one of the heaviest and largest birds of prey in the world. They measure 3–4 feet tall and have a wingspan of up to 10 feet. They may weigh up to 27 pounds on average.
  • They play an important role in the environment by cleaning up carcasses and preventing the spread of disease.
  • Cinereous vultures have a specialized type of hemoglobin in their blood that allows them to absorb oxygen at extremely high altitudes. They have even been spotted on Mount Everest.

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Scientific Name: Aegypius monachus

Class: Birds

Diet: Medium- to large-sized carrion (also, snakes and insects)

Range: Southern Europe to China and Southeast Asia

Endangered Status: Near Threatened

More Information

Cinereous vultures have dark brown plumage with a bluish-gray neck and head and a fluffy collar that lightens with age. Their hooked bill is gray with a pale blue band around the base of the beak. Females are slightly larger than males. These birds forage over large areas while in flight and may “float” on thermal winds at high heights.

Cinereous vultures form monogamous pairs and build nests in trees or on rocks. They may live in loose colonies and reuse those nests. One egg is laid at a time and incubated for 50–68 days. Once hatched, chicks stay in the nest for about four months. This species’ population is declining, especially in Asia, due to decreasing availability of food and direct human threats such as poisoned bait.

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