Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) Buitre Leonado
A huge bird with a wingspan of 2.5 metres, this species is one of 4 regular breeding species of vulture in Europe - all of which are found in Spain. This species underwent a marked population decline in Europe for most of the 20th century due to persecution via poison baits and shooting. The Spanish population dropped to c.4,000 pairs in the 70s but has since recovered and is now at c.18,000 pairs. However, recent EU legislation relating to disposal of animal carcasses may be having some effect in limiting food availability. Happily, due to pressure from various conservation and agricultural organisations, feeding stations are now permitted again and are regulated to include fenced off compounds sited more than 500 metres away from human habitation. Of course, all carcases must have been tested negative for BSE!!!
This photo, best viewed Large, was taken at Salto de Gitano (Leap of the Gypsy) in Monfrague, Caceres, Extremadura in west-central Spain.