May 2018: Bearded Vulture

Scientific Name Gypaetus barbatus
Alternate Name Lammergeier, Lammergeyer
Collective Name Kettle, Venue
Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family Genus
Animalia Chordata Aves Accipitriformes Accipitridae Gypaetus
Africa, Asia, Europe Shrubland, Grassland, Rocky Areas, Artificial/Terrestrial
93-125 cm. 37-49 in. 4-7 kg. 2-16 lb.
2.28-2.82 m. 7.5-9.25 ft. (Wingspan) 21-45 yr. 17.8 yr. (Generation)
Near Threatened Solitary Diurnal
Decreasing Polyandrous Carnivore
Left Right
2 Subspecies
G. b. barbatus Eurasian, North African, Northwest African
G. b. meridionalis South African

The bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus,) is an especially large vulture that feeds primarily on bones. They have an extremely high acid content within their stomachs that allows them to consume large bones whole and digest them within 24 hours. As scavengers, they soar 300-4,500 meters in the air, waiting for other predators to take down prey and pick the bones clean before they swoop in to consume the rest of the carcass. By disposing of rotting remains, these birds help keep the ecosystem clear of disease. Because these avians reside across three continents, Africa, Asia, and Europe, they are wide-spread and listed as “Near Threatened” on the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species. However, their populations are rapidly decreasing in Europe, where they are considered endangered.



Bearded Vulture Bearded Vulture - Male bearded vultures build nests with branches and animal remains and have several within a single territory, rotating between them, yearly.
Bearded Vulture Bearded Vulture - The bearded vulture's breeding success is influenced by human activity and kleptoparasitism by common ravens, golden eagles, griffon vultures, and even other bearded vultures.
Bearded Vulture Bearded Vulture - Female bearded vultures in polyandrous trios prefer mating with the alpha male, but will also mate with the beta to increase the likelihood of successful nesting.


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