Julio Fernández with the bird, which is believed to be a youngster because its beak is very sharp. / sur

Disorientated black vulture with a 2.5-metre wingspan rescued in Frigiliana

The bird was spotted beside a country road and has now been taken to the centre for the recovery of endangered species in Malaga

EUGENIO CABEZAS Malaga

Julio Fernández, a rural security guard from Frigiliana, and officers from the Guardia Civil’s Seprona nature protection force, have rescued a black vulture which had become disorientated and was unable to fly. The bird, which weighed about 12 kilos and had a wingspan of 2.5 metres, was spotted beside the country road between Frigiliana and Torrox, near the Los Caracoles hotel and restaurant.

Fernández told SUR that the vulture appeared to be a youngster, because its beak was very sharp. “It seemed to be having problems flying; it was disorientated, didn’t move much and just crouched down when it saw us approaching,” he said.

It wasn’t difficult to catch the bird by using a black cloth and putting it in a carrier, and when they offered it food and drink it responded at once. “It was very hungry and thirsty,” Fernández said.

It is not known whether this vulture, which is about 90 centimetres tall, was male or female. It has now been taken to the CREA centre for the recovery of endangered species in Malaga. Fernández said it is very unusual to see this breed in the Frigiliana area

The last time one was rescued in the Axarquía was three years ago in Benajarafe. There are settled breeding colonies in Huelva, Seville and Cordoba and experts believe those spotted in Malaga have probably come from those.

Black vultures are the biggest bird of prey in Europe. Since 2010 they have been classified as a vulnerable species, but at one time they were believed to be in danger of extinction in Andalucía.