Once widespread throughout the Balkans, the black vulture now breeds only in a single colony in the region, in Dadia (northeast Greece), where the breeding population has been stable (totalling about 35 pairs) due to the valiant conservation efforts there implemented by WWF Greece.
While the populations in Spain (2,500 breeding pairs), France (35 pairs) and Portugal (10 pairs) have been increasing, the species remains rare and localised in the Balkans, with very few observations outside Dadia.
The VCF and other partners are now starting a LIFE project to reintroduce the species to the Central Balkan Mountains in Bulgaria – with first releases planned for 2018, so a recent observation of a black vultures in Serbia, quite far away from Dadia, is certainly good news!
This month a black vulture has been seen and photographed in Uvca, a protected area in Serbia that is also home to a healthy griffon vulture colony, thriving due to the efforts of Saša Marinković, a Serbian vulture expert. Black vultures had already been seen in the country last year, and individuals from the same species are also now regularly observed every summer in the Eastern Italian Alps. With the increasing populations in western Europe, a stable colony in Dadia and the LIFE project the VCF and other partners are now implementing in Bulgaria, we that soon this species spreads across the Balkans too, and slowly starts to restore its former distribution range.
Photo: Saša Marinković