Picture by Alexander Smyslov

This mountain bird is the scavenger, ecological analogue of condors, vultures and griffons, and the descendant of the crow (Corvus spp.), adapted for a predating. It is the largest species of passerin birds group (Passeriformes). It is one of carnivorous species of corvine birds and the representative of separate mountain-dwelling genus. The adult bird weighs up to 10 kg, its wingspan is up to 3,5 meters. It is capable to hover at the big height: wings are strong and wide. The beak is long, high, compressed asides, hooked on the tip: it allows to tear meat, not dirtying feathers. With the help of such beak it is possible to penetrate inside of animal carcass, not risking to soil feathering. The head of the tanatos, as against heads of other scavenger birds, is covered with dense feathering for protection against cold. Legs are covered with feathers up to fingers, claws are blunt, do not serve for a killing, carryings and tearing of catch, as at predatory birds of group Falconiformes. At the best the bird only holds by claws the carcass on which it is feeding. Feathering on back is grey, on the head and wings it is black. Ends of wings of the male are white. Beak is black colored with red cross strip at the basis. Eyes are big, grey, pupil is black and round.

Bird feed by meat, more often eats carrion. Birds of this species hunt alive animals only when the opportunity offers. It can frighten cubs of herbivores and force down them from rocks by stroke of wing (the similar behavior is observed at modern lammergeyer Gypaetus barbatus).
Monodin species, nesting on ledges of rocks, pair forms to all life. In clutch there is one egg, both parents hatch it alternately. The nestling hatches downed, but blind. It develops slowly, the first winter it lives with parents, helps them to feed up a new nestling the next year. Later young bird lives alone before formation of nesting pair (it happena at the age of 4 years). Life expectancy is over 50 years.

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