|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|Abutre preto, Black vulture, buitre negro.|
Hello TN Friends
Today I present the Black vulture landing ...
The largest planing bird of the Iberian Peninsula.
It arrives in the beginning of Spring and stays for nesting. The number of Individuals are decreasing in recent years and is now very rare in Portugal.
The species inhabits forested areas in hills and mountains at 300-1,400 m in Spain, but higher in Asia, where it also occupies scrub and arid and semi-arid alpine steppe and grasslands up to 4,500m (Thiollay 1994). It forages over many kinds of open terrain, including forest, bare mountains, steppe and open grasslands. Nests are built in trees or on rocks (the latter extremely rarely in Europe but more frequently in parts of Asia), often aggregated in very loose colonies or nuclei. Its diet consists mainly of carrion from medium-sized or large mammal carcasses, although snakes and insects have been recorded as food items. Live prey is rarely taken. In Mongolia, at least, the species is reliant on livestock numbers for successful nesting (Batbayar et al. 2006).
The two main threats to the species are direct mortality caused by humans (either accidentally or deliberately) and decreasing availability of food. The main cause of unnatural death is the use of poisoned baits for predator extermination (Anon. 2004b), although shooting and destruction of nests also occur (Anon. 2004b; N. Batbayar in litt. 2005). Shooting and poisoning are increasing in Mongolia (N. Batbayar in litt. 2005), and many birds are trapped or shot in China for their feathers. There are fears that veterinary application of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug Diclofenac, which has caused the near-extinction of several Gyps vultures in India, may have a negative impact on A. monachus (N. Batbayar in litt. 2005), particularly as increasing numbers of the species are wintering in northern India (T. Katzner in litt. 2005). A study in central Spain during 2003-2005 found high concentrations of antibiotics in blood samples from 57% of nestlings tested (Lemus et al. 2008). The same study found two antibiotics in the liver samples of all dead nestlings that were tested. It is hypothesised that antibiotic residues, particularly quinolones, cause liver and kidney damage, and deplete lymphoid organs and alter bacteria flora, facilitating pathogenic bacterial and fungal infections (Lemus et al. 2008). In Europe, decreased food availability was formerly caused by European Union legislation on carcass disposal (Anon. 2004b); however, recently passed regulations will allow the operation of feeding stations for scavengers (A. Brunner in litt. 2010). In eastern Europe and central Asia, particularly in the former Soviet Union, changes in agricultural practices and human migration from the countryside to the cities have greatly reduced numbers of domestic livestock. In Georgia and Armenia, declines may be linked to the loss of subsidies for sheep-herding in the post-Soviet era (M. McGrady in litt. 2007). Additionally, there have been steep declines in many populations of wild ungulates which provide a major food source for the species. The Saiga antelope (Saiga tartarica), for example, numbered over one million individuals ten years ago, and has now been reduced to a population of 30,000-40,000 owing to uncontrolled hunting and severe winters (W. Fremuth in litt. 2005). In South Korea, food limitation is a serious problem such that the species relies on supplementary food (Lee et al. 2006). Habitat loss is also thought to be important (Anon. 2004). The majority of brood losses occur during the incubation period and it is suspected this may be partially due to low and fluctuating temperatures (Batbayar et al. 2006) and so changes in air termperatures resulting from climate change may be a potential future threat to the species."
Have a good Sunday and thanks for viewing...
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