Bearded Vulture

There are 13 up to subspecies of bearded vultures, though most lack sufficient grounds to be considered.

There are up to thirteen different subspecies of bearded vultures, though most lack sufficient grounds to be wholly considered.

Gypaetus barbatus barbatus is restricted to northwest Africa, while Gypaetus barbatus meridionalis can be found throughout eastern Africa and the nation of South Africa. Gypaetus barbatus aureus can be found throughout Europe and Asia, while Gypaetus barbatus altaicus are found only in the Himalayas and mountains of central Asia.

The subspecies of Gypaetus barbatus have defining physical appearances as adults that distinguish them from one another. Gypaetus barbatus barbatus possesses joined black eye-patches, black face-streaks, a partially or fully black gorget, and a completely feathered tarsi. Gypaetus barbatus aureus is slightly larger and more prominently marked than its northwest African relative. Gypaetus barbatus meridionalis is on average smaller than Gypaetus barbatus barbatus, lacks the face-streaks, gorget, and joined eye patches, and has 4 to 5 centimeters of the tarsi left unfeathered.

Sources: (Ferguson-Lees & Christie, 2001; Tenenzapf, 2011)
Image: Tambako the Jaguar

Learn More About the Bearded Vulture


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