The Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius monachus) is also known as the Black Vulture, Monk Vulture, or Eurasian Black Vulture. It is a member of the family Accipitridae, which also includes many other diurnal raptors such as kites, buzzards and harriers. It is the second largest old world vulture.
The Cinereous Vulture is believed to be the largest true bird of prey in the world. The Himalayan Griffon Vulture is slightly longer overall but is believed to be marginally surpassed in weight and wingspan by the Cinereous. The condors, slightly larger, are now generally considered unrelated to the true raptors. This huge bird measures 98–120 cm (39–47 in) long with a 2.5–3.1 m (8.2–10 ft) wingspan and a weight of 7–14 kg (15–31 lb), and is thus one of the world's heaviest flying birds. It breeds in high mountains and large forests, nesting in trees or occasionally on cliff ledges. The birds use sticks and twigs as building materials, and males and females cooperate in rearing young.
It breeds across southern Europe and Asia from Portugal to Korea, but is endangered throughout its European range. It is resident except in those parts of its range where hard winters cause limited movement.
The English name 'Black Vulture' refers to the plumage colour, while 'Monk Vulture', a direct translation of its German name Mönchsgeier, refers to the bald head and ruff of neck feathers like a monk's cowl. 'Cinereous Vulture' (Latin cineraceus, ash-coloured; pale, whitish grey), was a deliberate attempt to rename it with a new name distinct from the American Black Vulture