Cinereous Vulture

Cinereous or Black Vulture (Aegypius monachus)

The cinereous vulture is the largest bird of prey on Western Palearctic that feeds entirely on carcasses of dead animals and builds its nests generally on trees. Its European breeding population is small (as few as 1800 pairs) but increased markedly between 1970-1990. Although the species declined across much of South-Eastern Europe during 1990-2000, numbers in Spanish stronghold increased and the species underwent a large increase. On the Balkans the cinereous vulture is breeding only in Dadia National Park in Greece. However the species population in the area does not show capacity to increase even after the conservation measures. 
The Kresna Gorge is a historical breeding place for the Cinereous Vulture. The habitat is well preserved with low altitude Juniperus excelsa forests and subalpine pine (Pinus sylvestris, Pinus nigra and Pinus heldreichii) forests. The extensive livestock breeding and the wolf presence provide frequent food for scavengers. Restoring the species in Kresna Gorge will be a step towards restoration of cienereous vulture population on the Balkans. Since 2012 single birds visit the Gorge every spring.