Eurasian black vulture

Biological classification

Class: Aves 
Order: Accipitriformes 
Family: Accipitridae


Black vulture is the largest bird of Ukraine. The width of its wings is up to 3 m, the body length is up to 1 m, the weight is 11-14 kg. The main tone of the feather is dark brown, fluff on the head and neck has a light color. Plumage of young species is totally dark-brown, almost black.

Distribution and mode of life

Black vulture inhabits mountainous areas, combined with large open spaces and small areas of the forest. Habitat extends from Northwest Africa and Southern Europe, then through Middle and Central Asia to the east to Mongolia and the mountainous regions of Eastern China. The species is sedentary, but some species of the population carry out extensive migration.


The basis of the diet is carrion, in the absence of which birds occasionally hunt for small animals.


Black vultures nest in rarefied colonies or in single pairs arranging nests on trees, less often on rocks. Form monogamous pair for a long period. The nest is huge, up to 2 meters in diameter constructed from branches, dry grass, wool and other materials. Eggs are hatched by both parents in turn for 50-56 days, usually there is only one egg is the laying.  The percentage of reproductive success is low, only 25-48% of chicks survive to adulthood. The nesting period lasts 3-3,5 months.

Environmental protection status

The Black Vulture is a rare bird protected by the Red List of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature, the Red Book of Ukraine, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) (Annex II), the Bonn (Annex II) and the Bern (Annex II) conventions. The number of this species in the world is estimated at 10.5 thousand pairs, of which in Europe up to 2.5 thousand pairs. The number of species in Ukraine is about 50 individuals, of which 5-11 pairs per year nest.

Eurasian black vulture in Kyiv Zoo

There is a pair of black vultures living in Kyiv Zoo since 2000 year. This couple participates in the European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) of predatory birds. This program provides reproduction of vultures in captivity. Specialists of Kyiv zoo create the necessary conditions to get offspring from the birds. A scientific work on the study of nesting biology of the species is conducted. The technique for incubating eggs is being worked out.

Black vultures live in aviary near the "Bear Continent" exposition. Birds are active during the light part of the day.

The diet of birds in Kyiv zoo is balanced and close to the natural.

Eurasian black vulture