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A Black Vulture in Eastern Balkan Mountains for a first time in more than thirty years!

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On April 23d a photo-trap set at the vulture supplementary feeding site in the Sinite Kamani Nature Park (Bulgaria) captured a young Black Vulture, feeding together with the usual group of foraging Griffons. This is the first observation of the species in the Eastern Balkan Mountains for more than thirty years!

The black vulture was together with 21 Griffon Vultures, mostly individuals released by the Vultures Return in Bulgaria LIFE08 NAT/BG/278 Project, but also a young Griffon from Serbia as well as several wild, non-tagged young and sub-adult Griffon Vultures.

Black Vulture was widely distributed in Bulgaria in the past, mostly in the plain areas, less often in hilly areas and in broad-leaved forest belt – Dobrudzha, Ludogorie, Shumen and Provadija plateaus, the Danube plain, the slopes of Sakar, Vitosha, the mountains surrounding Sofia, the Rhodopes and South-eastern Bulgaria. The extensive use of poison against large carnivores, and some direct persecution, lead to the complete extinction of the species as nesting bird in Bulgaria.

The last confirmed nest of the species was found in the area of the Studen Kladenets Reservoir in 1997, and since then breeding has not been confirmed. However, Black Vultures from the Dadia Reserve, Northern Greece (the only breeding colony in the Balkans) often cross the border in search of food and use the supplementary feeding sites in southern Bulgaria.

Single birds have been reported in the Eastern Balkan Mountains in the 1970s, and the last nesting attempts there were recorded in the afforested hills near Provadija. Since then no Black vultures had been seen in the region.Congratulation to the entire team of Green Balkans and FWFF for their hard work.

For more information, please contact:
Elena Kmetova – project coordinator: + 359 885 219557; ekmetova@greenbalkans.org

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