MALLORCA – Government organisation, Agents de Medi Ambient de les Illes Balears made a surprising discovery – a pair of lovelorn Cinereous Vultures nesting on rocks rather than tree tops.
The pair were first recorded a year ago but since then there has been a significant development.
Successful hatching on rocks
Typically, Cinereous Vultures in Mallorca nest in pine trees by the sea cliffs of the Serra de Tramuntana. An isolated spot to breed is key. Last year, one pair decided the rock gave them a better nesting spot.
Last year the pair laid an egg, but it didn’t hatch. This year is a different story with the egg successfully hatching and the nestling doing well.
The Cinereous Vulture breeding season
The Cinereous Vulture has the longest breeding period of all birds of prey in Europe. The birds build huge nests that can measure up to a diameter of up to 254cm and a height of 129cm, although they are typically smaller.
They lay only one egg per pair, per season from late February to the first half of March. The incubation period is typically about 55-60 days. The parents care for the chick for about 100-115 days until it fledges. All being well, we can expect this nestling to fledge in late August to early September.
The vultures on Mallorca
The Cinereous Vulture population in Mallorca suffered a dramatic decline with only 20 birds remaining in the 1980s. Thankfully, there was a change in the species’ fortunes and there are now an estimated 200 Cinereous Vultures on the island.
There are approximately 35 breeding pairs nesting in the Serra de Tramuntana. The increase in vulture numbers is due to several factors including the control of the use of poisons, the provision of food for the vultures and the protection of nests to avoid disturbance.