Bearded vultures prefer fatty bones for their oleic acid, associated with increased energy and foraging time optimization.
Bearded vultures prefer the fatty anatomical parts of an animal carcass, regardless of bone length, although bone morphology as a consequence of handling efficiency or the ingestion process may also play a secondary role in food selection.
These fatty bones have a higher percentage of oleic acid than non-fatty bones. The close association between the bones selected and their high fat value implies an optimization of foraging time and of the increased energy gained from the food. This is in line with selective foraging to redress specific nutritional imbalances.
Sources: (Margalida, 2008; Tenenzapf, 2011)
Image: Tijs Michels