Bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus)

Common name in other languages:

Dutch Lammergier; German Bartgeier; French Gypaète Barbu; Spanish Quebrantahuesos; Portuguese Brita-ossos; Swedish Skäggam

Size: 100-115 cm

Weight: 4,5-7,1 kg

Wingspan: 250-285 cm

Life expectancy: up to 40 years in captivity

 

Features: The Bearded vulture is an unmistakable bird, with black ‘sideburns’, red rings around the eyes and a long wedge-shaped tail. Bearded vultures have black facial markings and black wings, the rest of the head, neck and body are a rich rusty orange. This is because Bearded vultures in the wild rub themselves with ferric oxides. Captive born birds are therefore not rusty but whit in colour. Juvenile bearded vultures are completely dark, and undergo multiple moultings.

 

Distribution: Two hundred years ago, Bearded vultures were found in all Southern European mountain areas, from Western Spain to the Balkans. A decrease of food availability (chamois, roe deer, ibex), changes in animal husbandry and a bad reputation caused a steady population decrease. The name ‘lammergeier’ (or ‘quebrantahuesos’ in Spanish, which means bone breaker) reveals it: people thought that the bird killed lambs and sometimes even small children. Bearded vultures were hunted down fanatically, and in the Alpine region there was even a bounty for each animal killed. The last living specimen in this area was shot in 1913.

 

Currently, Bearded vultures are the rarest vultures in Europe, only occurring in the Pyrenees (around 100 breeding pairs), Corsica (8 pairs), Crete (9-10 breeding pairs), and a reintroduced population in in the Alps (20 breeding pairs). The total population in Europe (including Turkey and Russia) is estimated at 600 to 1000 pairs.

 

Behaviour: Unlike the myth, Bearded vultures do not hunt live prey, and even avoid meat. The diet of the Bearded vulture consists for 80 to 90% of the bleached carcass bones. The bird is capable of  swallowing and digesting bones the size of a sheep’s vertebrae. If bones are too big, they are dropped onto rocks from a height of up to 100 meters, to shatter them. This unique eating habit makes Bearded vultures an essential part of the ecosystem.

 

Bearded vultures live in mountainous areas, often above the tree line. Because of the many animals that do not survive the winter, carcass supply is greatest in winter. Therefore, this is the time when Bearded vultures breed, and chicks hatch in February. Bearded vultures lay two eggs, but only the strongest young survives.

 

Fri

19

Oct

2018

Join us for the Annual Bearded Vulture Meeting

Read More

Fri

19

Oct

2018

New research article reveals harmful exposure to lead in four avian scavengers in Switzerland

(C) Hansruedi Weyrich
(C) Hansruedi Weyrich
Read More

Thu

18

Oct

2018

Bearded vultures on the Move – mission accomplished!

(c)  Hansruedi Weyrich
(c) Hansruedi Weyrich
Read More

Wed

17

Oct

2018

Catching up with Spanish bearded vultures Alòs and Amic

Read More

Tue

16

Oct

2018

16 threatened birds - including the bearded and cinereous vultures, have much better chances in Europe now!

Read More

Tue

16

Oct

2018

First five Bearded Vultures are on the Move

Read More

Mon

15

Oct

2018

Understanding and tackling the electrocution and collision threats to vultures - Andalusia seminar

Young Egyptian vulture perrched on an electricity pylon
Young Egyptian vulture perrched on an electricity pylon
Read More

Mon

15

Oct

2018

2017/2018 bearded vulture breeding season in the Alps – a new record in the number of couples but productivity has decreased

Young bearded vulture in flight (C) Keystone
Young bearded vulture in flight (C) Keystone
Read More

Sat

13

Oct

2018

Two males looking for a new home – 2 bearded vultures on the move who need your help

Read More

Wed

10

Oct

2018

A pair of young bearded vultures in love and looking for a new home in the Ukraine

Read More

Wed

03

Oct

2018

Why is #CountingBeardedVultures important?

Read More

Tue

02

Oct

2018

Czech Zoo visitors helping to protect Europe’s rarest vulture

Read More

Sat

29

Sep

2018

International Observation Days - what we found out from 2017

Read More

Fri

28

Sep

2018

POISON KILLS! A new LPO publication helping to fight illegal wildlife poisoning in the French Pyrenees

Read More

Thu

27

Sep

2018

What is the Bearded Vulture European Endangered Species Programme?

Asters Specialized Breeding Centre, Haute-Savoie, France
Asters Specialized Breeding Centre, Haute-Savoie, France
Read More

Tue

25

Sep

2018

Meet GypHelp BG 973 - a Bearded Vulture On The Move

Read More

Mon

24

Sep

2018

Volunteers needed to count Europe’s rarest vulture on International Observation Day Saturday 6 October

Read More

Wed

19

Sep

2018

Help us get BEARDED VULTURES ON THE MOVE with our first ever public fundraising campaign

Read More

Sat

15

Sep

2018

Captive-bred bearded vultures released in Baronnies doing well

Clapas, Drumana and Simay at a feeding station
Clapas, Drumana and Simay at a feeding station
Read More

Tue

11

Sep

2018

Vultures at risk from changes to regulations in Spain’s Asturias region

Read More

Mon

10

Sep

2018

What killed bearded vulture Palanfré?

Read More

Sat

01

Sep

2018

Why are vultures important?

Bearded vulture
Bearded vulture
Read More

Wed

29

Aug

2018

LIFE GYPCONNECT - Connecting bearded vulture populations from the Alps to the Pyrenees

Read More

Mon

27

Aug

2018

Who are the Vulture Conservation Foundation?

Read More

Sat

25

Aug

2018

One week to go to International Vulture Awareness Day!

Read More

Tue

21

Aug

2018

Reintroduced bearded vultures exploring their new home in Maestrazgo (Spain)

Alos perched on a cliff near the hacking nest after fledging
Alos perched on a cliff near the hacking nest after fledging
Read More

Wed

15

Aug

2018

Lead ammunition banned from Maestrazgo – significant breakthrough in our most recent bearded vulture reintroduction project

Read More

Thu

09

Aug

2018

Another successful season comes to an end in our bearded vulture breeding season

Finja fledging from the nesting site.  (c)Franziska Loercher
Finja fledging from the nesting site. (c)Franziska Loercher
Read More

Wed

01

Aug

2018

One month to go until International Vulture Awareness Day

Read More

Tue

24

Jul

2018

Two young bearded vultures tagged in Andalucía

Read More

Thu

19

Jul

2018

Bearded vulture Rin Ran will be able to see again – thanks to overwhelming public donations

Read More

Mon

16

Jul

2018

Latest edition of the LIFE GypConnect Newsletter

Read More

Thu

12

Jul

2018

Field Report from the Swiss Alps

Read More

Wed

11

Jul

2018

Bearded Vulture Fredueli fledges in the Swiss Alps

Read More

Fri

06

Jul

2018

Helping vultures back to health

Read More

Wed

04

Jul

2018

Bearded Vulture Alos fledges in Maestrazgo

Read More

Wed

27

Jun

2018

Updated news: First record of bearded vulture in Portugal in the last 100 years

Read More

Tue

26

Jun

2018

Very early fledging of bearded vultures in Italy's Stelvio National Park

Young bearded vulture flying against the mountains of the Italian Alps
Ginger flying in Stelvio National Park (Image taken by Andrea Roverselli)
Read More

Fri

22

Jun

2018

Worrying return of poison to Grands Causses killing results in vulture deaths

Bearded vulture Durzon - the victim of illegal poisoning
Bearded vulture Durzon - the victim of illegal poisoning
Read More

Thu

21

Jun

2018

Bearded vultures released in Switzerland

Fredueli and Finja on the Tannalp by the team (c) weyrichfoto.ch
Fredueli and Finja on the Tannalp by the team (c) weyrichfoto.ch
Read More

Wed

20

Jun

2018

A first in 40 years of captive breeding bearded vultures

Read More

Fri

15

Jun

2018

A great set of bearded vulture spots for International Observation Day

Read More

Wed

13

Jun

2018

A brilliant year for the bearded vulture captive breeding network

Read More

Mon

11

Jun

2018

Sadness, hope and resilience in Vanoise National Park

Read More

Sun

10

Jun

2018

First bearded vultures released this year in Europe already fledged (in Baronnies), while two more birds released in Austria this weekend

Read More

Mon

04

Jun

2018

One step closer to GYPCONNECT – bearded vulture pair present in the Corbières?

Read More

Fri

01

Jun

2018

Bearded vulture breeding season: Good news from the Alps

Read More

Tue

29

May

2018

First bearded vultures released in new reintroduction programme in Spain

Read More

Tue

29

May

2018

Two more bearded vultures released in Andalusia

Read More

Mon

28

May

2018

Another bearded vulture visits Netherlands - Updated news

Read More

Thu

24

May

2018

Landmark day for vulture conservation in Europe

Read More

Wed

23

May

2018

Bearded vulture reintroductions in Europe: young bird flies from Bulgaria to Spain

Read More

Sat

19

May

2018

Release season continues with another bearded vulture reintroduction in Andalusia (22nd May)

Read More

Fri

18

May

2018

Bearded vulture reintroductions: New project in Maestrazgo kicks off in style

Read More

Sun

13

May

2018

One more bearded vulture will be released tomorrow in Andalusia

Read More

Wed

02

May

2018

Reintroducing bearded vultures to the wild – release season is starting this Sunday!

Read More

Sat

28

Apr

2018

Breeding bearded vulture dies after colliding with cable in Vanoise - single partner continues to take care of the chick

Read More

Tue

17

Apr

2018

Do we have a baby bearded vulture in the Écrins National Park (France)?

Read More

Mon

09

Apr

2018

Adult bearded vulture seen in Mt. Olympus (mainland Greece)

Read More

Thu

05

Apr

2018

Tono and Blimunda do it again! Second bearded vulture hatched in the wild in Andalucía this year.

Read More

Mon

02

Apr

2018

Fourth newsletter of the LIFE+ GYPCONNECT published – linking bearded vultures from the Alps to the Pyrenees

Read More

Sat

31

Mar

2018

68 (Easter) eggs in the bearded vulture captive breeding season - but number of resulting chicks will be average

Read More

Thu

22

Mar

2018

Palanfré - the white bearded vulture was found dead in Piemonte

Palanfré (c) Batti Gai
Palanfré (c) Batti Gai
Read More

Wed

21

Mar

2018

Infogipeto - latest newsletter on the bearded vulture reintroduction project in the Alps just published (in Italian)

Read More

Sun

18

Mar

2018

Bearded vulture census and symposium in Stelvio National Park (Italy) – celebrating an extraordinary human and conservation adventure!

Read More

Mon

12

Mar

2018

Italy – bearded vulture symposium and field count in Stelvio will take place this weekend!

Read More

Fri

02

Mar

2018

Dispatches from the field: 3 pairs of bearded vultures incubating in Vanoise while breeding has been confirmed (at long last!) in the Écrins (Alps)

Read More

Mon

26

Feb

2018

Mourning bearded vulture Durzon

Read More

Mon

12

Feb

2018

Bearded vulture Roc Genèse is in Buseu!

Read More

Sun

11

Feb

2018

When age does not matter – 48 years old bearded vulture is still breeding

Read More

Fri

09

Feb

2018

An update on the bearded vulture captive-breeding season – lots of eggs, chicks hatching now

Read More

Thu

08

Feb

2018

Good news from the Alps – early start of the breeding season and already two new pairs of bearded vultures!

Read More

Tue

06

Feb

2018

Italy – bearded vulture symposium and field count in Stelvio to be organised in March

Read More

Thu

01

Feb

2018

Whooshh! An adult bearded vulture alights near a webcam in the Gran Paradiso National Park

Read More

Mon

29

Jan

2018

Bearded vultures - and one of the most remarkable wildlife comeback stories of our times - features in Geographical

Read More

Sat

27

Jan

2018

We have a baby! The first bearded vulture of the season hatched in Haringsee (Austria)

Read More

Fri

26

Jan

2018

Wild Pyrenean bearded vulture released back to the wild after successful rehabilitation in Vallcalent

Read More

Sun

21

Jan

2018

Bearded vultures in the French Pyrenees safer from disturbance from helicopter overflights

Read More

Fri

19

Jan

2018

39 eggs and counting in the bearded vulture captive breeding network - like this one in La Garenne Zoo

Read More

Wed

17

Jan

2018

With more snowstorms coming to the Alps this week, bearded vultures are… breeding!

Read More

Mon

15

Jan

2018

New paper: eggshell thickness from bearded vulture eggs from the Pyrenees decreased abruptly after 2004

Read More

Tue

09

Jan

2018

Video: Anti-collision markers put on a high-voltage line with a drone (LIFE GYPHELP)

Read More

Mon

08

Jan

2018

29 eggs and counting – busy period in the bearded vulture captive breeding network!

Read More

Fri

05

Jan

2018

Bearded vultures featured in Le Monde

Read More

Wed

03

Jan

2018

The VCF top stories for 2017

Read More

Sat

09

Dec

2017

Bearded vulture Adonis, the great traveler, is back in the Grands Causses!

Read More

Sat

02

Dec

2017

1st egg of the 2017-2018 breeding season in the Bearded vulture captive breeding network

Read More

Fri

01

Dec

2017

Another VCF milestone – final drafts of the European International Species Actions Plans for the bearded vulture and the cinereous vulture produced

Read More

Tue

28

Nov

2017

New vulture trail and displays just opened in the Parc Naturel Régional du Vercors (French Alps)

Read More

Sat

25

Nov

2017

Last chance to see the spectacular documentary on our LIFE GYPCONNECT on ARTE

Read More

Fri

24

Nov

2017

New bearded vulture captive-breeding centre established in Armenia, with support from the VCF and Pro-Bartgeier

Read More

Thu

16

Nov

2017

Bearded vultures – and the LIFE GYPCONNECT– on the big screen – and in your living room

Read More

Mon

13

Nov

2017

4 Black vultures - and a potential bearded vulture - crossing the Gibraltar strait to Africa!

Read More

Fri

03

Nov

2017

Bearded vultures in the Alps - come to Passy (Haute Savoie) next weekend (12th November) to participate in one of several public events

Read More

Thu

02

Nov

2017

Finally flying - the harrowing story of the young bearded vulture Mison

Read More

Wed

01

Nov

2017

Three captive bearded vultures die because of West Nile virus - a serious threat for the International Bearded Vulture captive breeding program

Read More

Mon

23

Oct

2017

Perceptions of vultures in France: a sociological study

Read More

Thu

12

Oct

2017

The saga of bearded vulture Flamadel – a huge veterinary challenge!

Read More

Wed

11

Oct

2017

IOD 2017 - a day out in the mountains to count bearded vultures

Read More

Tue

10

Oct

2017

Killing of a bearded vulture in Spain – suspects identified!

Read More

Fundraising Campaign

Keep up to date

Donate

Support our work and help us protect vultures

Campaigns