Weight, length: Cinereous vultures are the largest eurasian bird of prey and one of the largest flying birds. They are 98–120 cm (39–47 in) long with a 2.5–3.1 m (8.2–10 ft) wingspan and weigh 7–14 kg (15–31 lb)
-They are also known as the European black vulture due to the very dark color of the juveniles. The adult’s head plumage gets lighter as the bird ages.
– It has recently been established through the identification of wing-tagged birds, that a number of juvenile birds from Ikh Nart are migrating to South Korea during the winter. They are showing up at feeding stations.
– It is more common for the species to nest in trees in western parts of its range, but in Mongolia nests on cliffs are more often seen. At Ikh Nart the birds nest in some of the elm trees and a bird was recently photographed on a nest built in a larch tree in the northern mountains.
I’m starting the New Year with a new series on Mongolian wildlife. These will be short profiles with essential information and interesting links. First up is the animal which brought me to Mongolia in the first place, the argali, now one of my favorite subjects.
Species: Argali (Ovis ammon)
Weight, height and horn length: Argali are the world’s largest mountain sheep. A large ram can weigh as much as 375 lbs (65-170km). They stand from 3-4″ (90-120cm) at the shoulder. The horns can measure up to 65″ (165cm).
-There are no argali in captivity, neither zoos or reserves. The only place to see them is in their native habitats.
– While the rams do fight it out during the annual rut for mating privileges, otherwise argali don’t have set herds or harems. Who is with who can change through the day. Rams mingle freely with ewes and lambs, form bachelor groups or wander around on their own.
– In July of 2009, I was in the right place and the right time to be the first person to ever photograph an argali swimming a river…the Kherlen Gol, which flows through Gun-Galuut Nature Reserve. It was known that they do it, but since almost all the research on them is done at Ikh Nartiin Chuluu, where there are no rivers, no one had ever actually seen, much less photographed, it.