Bearded vultures are diurnal and often perform aerial displays, mutual circling, and high-speed chases for social play and courtship.
Bearded vultures are diurnal and often can be seen performing aerial displays such as mutual circling and high-speed chases. They roll over one another, displaying their talons and diving nearly completely to the ground. They also perform sky dances, ascending to high altitudes and rapidly diving down, twisting and rolling past the nesting site.
These aerial displays and chases are used to communicate territory boundaries and to defend or attract mates.
It is hypothesized that young birds performing these chases and dives might be engaging in social play to practice courtship skills. Practicing these skills as a juvenile may also be important for Gypaetus barbatus in defending nests from heterospecifics when they reach maturity.
Sources: (Blumstein, 1990; Ferguson-Lees & Christie, 2001; Tenenzapf, 2011)
Image: Noel Reynolds