Cinereous vulture

Latin Name
Aegypius monachus




A large bird, the cinereous vulture can measure more than three feet in height and has a wingspan that can extend up to ten feet. Cinereous vultures have dark brown feathers with a dull blue head, neck and bill.



Northern Africa and Spain east through China and Thailand


Near threatened. Lincoln Park Zoo cooperatively manages cinereous vulture populations with other institutions in the Association of Zoos and Aquariums.


Dry plains, grasslands and mountainous forests


A scavenger, the cinereous vulture feeds on carrion ranging from large mammals to fish and reptiles. Scavengers play an important role in the ecosystems they inhabit; by feeding on dead animals they recycle nutrients and speed the process of decomposition.

Life History

Cinereous vultures build their nests in trees and on cliffs high above the ground, using sticks and twigs as building materials. Males and females cooperate in rearing young.

Special Adaptations
  • Massive beak is well suited for feeding on tough material such as sinew, dry skin and muscle.
  • The short feathers on the cinereous vulture's head and neck keep the bird healthy by preventing gore from accumulating when the animal is feeding.
  • Sharp eyesight helps the vulture spot carcasses from far above.

Bonus Content

Cinerous Vulture and Other Hatchlings
Learn more about the zoo's newest bird arrivals.

The cinereous vulture chick sits on its nest at Regenstein Birds of Prey Exhibit, where the new arrival is being reintroduced to its parents.

Post from the President—Calling on Care
President and CEO Kevin Bell introduces a cinereous vulture chick at Regenstein Birds of Prey Exhibit--and explains why the new arrival is getting some extra attention from our animal care experts.

Sophia being fed with her "puppet parent" at 1 week. (Photo courtesy of Kristin Dvorak.)

Raising Sophia
Catch up with growing vulture Sophia, who thrived thanks to steady care…and one special puppet.


ARKive Media

ARKive video - Cinereous vulture - overviewARKive image - Cinereous vulture egg in nestARKive image - Cinereous vulture chick in nest

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Lincoln Park Zoo Exhibit