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.

 

Wed

20

Nov

2019

How the LIFE GYPCONNECT project is working to limit the use of lead ammunition

(c) Bruno Berthemy
(c) Bruno Berthemy
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Sun

17

Nov

2019

Day two and three of the Annual Bearded Vulture Meeting 2019

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Fri

15

Nov

2019

Day one of the Annual Bearded Vulture Meeting 2019

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Tue

05

Nov

2019

Announcing the programme of the Annual Bearded Vulture Meeting 2019

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Thu

31

Oct

2019

Vulture Research Update: October 2019

Cinereous Vulture (c) Bruno Berthemy
Cinereous Vulture (c) Bruno Berthemy
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Wed

30

Oct

2019

Another fantastic year for the Bearded Vulture Captive Breeding Network

Pair with their chicks in Andalucia
Pair with their chicks in Andalucia
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Tue

29

Oct

2019

How many vultures are there in the Alps?

Griffon Vultures in flight (c) Bruno Berthemy
Griffon Vultures in flight (c) Bruno Berthemy
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Thu

24

Oct

2019

The Bearded Vulture breeding season has already started!

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Tue

15

Oct

2019

LIFE GYPCONNECT Seminar: Food support and sanitary precautions for Bearded Vultures

Bearded Vulture in flight (c) Bruno Berthemy
Bearded Vulture in flight (c) Bruno Berthemy
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Thu

10

Oct

2019

Join us for the Annual Bearded Vulture Meeting 2019

Bearded Vulture in flight (c) Bruno Berthemy
Bearded Vulture in flight (c) Bruno Berthemy
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Mon

07

Oct

2019

An overview of the European Vulture Conference

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Wed

02

Oct

2019

Day 2 of the European Vulture Conference

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Tue

01

Oct

2019

Day 1 of the European Vulture Conference

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Fri

27

Sep

2019

Record number of Bearded Vulture fledglings observed in the Alps

Bearded Vulture in flight (c) Bruno Berthemy
Bearded Vulture in flight (c) Bruno Berthemy
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Tue

24

Sep

2019

The European Vulture Conference is a week away - what to expect

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Thu

12

Sep

2019

Dr François Sarrazin will give a keynote presentation on the restoration and conservation of scavenger populations during the European Vulture Conference

Cinereous and Griffon vultures (c) Bruno Berthemy
Cinereous and Griffon vultures (c) Bruno Berthemy
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Sat

07

Sep

2019

Get to know Europe's vultures - key facts and conservation

Europe's vultures (c) Bruno Berthemy
Europe's vultures (c) Bruno Berthemy
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Wed

04

Sep

2019

International Observation Days - how many Bearded Vultures did we count in 2018?

Bearded Vulture in flight (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
Bearded Vulture in flight (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
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Fri

30

Aug

2019

Bearded Vulture Biès is free to roam the Pyrenees once again!

Biès taking off during her release (c) Nicolas Sabathier/La République des Pyrénées
Biès taking off during her release (c) Nicolas Sabathier/La République des Pyrénées
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Tue

27

Aug

2019

Together we can save vultures

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Tue

20

Aug

2019

The Bearded Vultures in the Grands Causses are travelling further and further

Cévennes in flight (c) Bruno Berthémy
Cévennes in flight (c) Bruno Berthémy
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Fri

16

Aug

2019

Deadly fall of Bearded Vulture Monna from the LIFE GypConnect releases

Monna (c) Berthemy
Monna (c) Berthemy
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Wed

14

Aug

2019

Be a conservationist for a day and count Europe’s rarest vulture on International Observation Day 12 October 2019

Observers during IOD (c)Timia Sanchez
Observers during IOD (c)Timia Sanchez
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Wed

07

Aug

2019

Catching up with the Bearded Vultures we released in Maestrazgo

Amic spotted in Viniegra de Arriba (Rioja) on 7 July (c) Alvaro Camiña
Amic spotted in Viniegra de Arriba (Rioja) on 7 July (c) Alvaro Camiña
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Thu

01

Aug

2019

Announcing the Scientific Programme of the European Vulture Conference

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Wed

31

Jul

2019

Monitoring the recently reintroduced Bearded vultures in Maestrazgo: An expert's account

(c) VCF
(c) VCF
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Wed

24

Jul

2019

Reintroduced Bearded Vulture Buisson from LIFE GYPCONNECT dies due to electrocution

Bearded Vulture Buisson (c) Florian Buisson
Bearded Vulture Buisson (c) Florian Buisson
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Sat

20

Jul

2019

4 Vultures - Photography Contest

Cinereous Vultures and Griffon Vulture (c) Bruno Berthemy
Cinereous Vultures and Griffon Vulture (c) Bruno Berthemy
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Wed

17

Jul

2019

How many Bearded Vulture breeding pairs are there currently in the Alps and on Corsica?

Bearded Vulture breeding trio from Bargy in the French Alps (c) Alain Towner
Bearded Vulture breeding trio from Bargy in the French Alps (c) Alain Towner
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Mon

15

Jul

2019

Are you cycling at the Tour de France? Keep your eyes open for Bearded Vultures

Bearded Vulture (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
Bearded Vulture (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
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Fri

05

Jul

2019

We reintroduced a record of 22 Bearded Vultures into the wild to help boost local populations

Release in Grand Causses 6 May 2019
Release in Grand Causses 6 May 2019
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Wed

26

Jun

2019

What have the LIFE GYPCONNECT Bearded Vultures been up to since their release into the wild?

Mistral with his news friends (c) Alain Hérault.
Mistral with his news friends (c) Alain Hérault.
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Thu

20

Jun

2019

Final releases of Bearded Vultures in the LIFE GYPCONNECT project for 2019

Presenting one of the captive-bred Bearded Vultures to the public (c) Q. Martinez - Parc Naturel Regional des Baronnies Provençales
Presenting one of the captive-bred Bearded Vultures to the public (c) Q. Martinez - Parc Naturel Regional des Baronnies Provençales
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Mon

10

Jun

2019

Two Bearded Vultures released to help boost the population on Corsica

Bearded Vultures Cintu and Orba during the public presentation on Monday 10 June
Bearded Vultures Cintu and Orba during the public presentation on Monday 10 June
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Sat

08

Jun

2019

Two young Bearded Vultures are the new inhabitants of Tinença de Benifassà (Spain)

Our Bearded vulture captive breeding manager, Alejandro Llopis Dell, presenting one of the vultures (c) VCF
Our Bearded vulture captive breeding manager, Alejandro Llopis Dell, presenting one of the vultures (c) VCF
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Thu

06

Jun

2019

Bearded Vulture returns to the French countryside after a year in recovery

The return of Bearded Vulture Elizabeth to the wild (c) Hegalaldia Rescue Centre
The return of Bearded Vulture Elizabeth to the wild (c) Hegalaldia Rescue Centre
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Wed

05

Jun

2019

How do vultures contribute to our environment?

Griffon and Egyptian Vulture (c) Bruno Berthemy
Griffon and Egyptian Vulture (c) Bruno Berthemy
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Tue

04

Jun

2019

Vulture Research Update: May 2019

Bearded Vulture (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
Bearded Vulture (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
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Mon

27

May

2019

Second year of releases in the Europe’s latest Bearded Vulture reintroduction project in Spain’s Maestrazgo region

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Fri

24

May

2019

Two young Bearded Vultures begin their new adventure after being released in the Parc Naturel Régional du Vercors in the French pre-Alps

One of the young Bearded Vultures presented to the crowd ahead of his release into the Parc Naturel Régional du Vercors (C)  Pascal Conche
One of the young Bearded Vultures presented to the crowd ahead of his release into the Parc Naturel Régional du Vercors (C) Pascal Conche
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Tue

21

May

2019

Two Bearded Vultures set to be released into the wild in Andalucia on Thursday 23 May

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Thu

16

May

2019

Bearded Vulture releases continue in LIFE GYPCONNECT project in France on Saturday 18 May

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Sun

12

May

2019

Three captive-bred Bearded Vultures released into the wild in France kicking off the 2019 Bearded Vulture Release Season

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Mon

06

May

2019

Latest edition of Alpine Bearded Vulture news bulletin infoGipeto published

Young Bearded Vulture in the Italian Alps
Young Bearded Vulture in the Italian Alps
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Fri

03

May

2019

First Bearded Vulture release on Monday 6 May - join us in France

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Mon

29

Apr

2019

The 2019 Bearded Vulture release season kicks off in France

Local school children attending the public ceremony of the release of a captive-bred Bearded Vulture in Spain
Local school children attending the public ceremony of the release of a captive-bred Bearded Vulture in Spain
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Wed

24

Apr

2019

Breeding success for ANOTHER pair of Bearded Vultures in the French pre-Pyrenees

The first  Bearded Vulture chick born in Aude in the eastern French pre-Pyrenees in 2016 could be joinned by another chick this year
The first Bearded Vulture chick born in Aude in the eastern French pre-Pyrenees in 2016 could be joinned by another chick this year
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Sun

21

Apr

2019

Lots of Bearded Vulture (Easter) eggs this year - a bumper breeding season

A young chick from Ostrava Zoo
A young chick from Ostrava Zoo
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Sun

14

Apr

2019

Bearded Vulture chicks take flight a little earlier than planned

The two Bearded Vulture chicks from Estonia's Tallinn Zoo in their travel cases
The two Bearded Vulture chicks from Estonia's Tallinn Zoo in their travel cases
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Fri

15

Mar

2019

First wild born Bearded Vulture in Andalucia returns to the region

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Fri

01

Mar

2019

Bearded Vulture found dead in Turkey, but what killed this bird?

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Fri

22

Feb

2019

Third wild breeding pair of Bearded Vultures confirmed in Andalucia

One of the breeding Bearded Vultures pair in Andalucia
One of the breeding Bearded Vultures pair in Andalucia
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Wed

20

Feb

2019

Where did the Bearded Vultures that were On The Move end up?

The pair of Bearded Vultures from Latvia's Riga Zoo in their new home at the Vallcalent Specialised Breeding Centre in Spain
The pair of Bearded Vultures from Latvia's Riga Zoo in their new home at the Vallcalent Specialised Breeding Centre in Spain
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Sat

09

Feb

2019

January was a busy month for wild Bearded Vultures in the 2018/19 breeding season

One of the Bearded Vulture pair at Italy's Gran Paradiso National Park returns to their nest
One of the Bearded Vulture pair at Italy's Gran Paradiso National Park returns to their nest
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Wed

06

Feb

2019

Updates from the Maestrazgo Bearded Vulture reintroduction project

Release of an adult bird as part of experiment to evaluate the feasibility of translocating non-breeding adults from the Bearded Vulture population in the Pyrenees
Release of an adult bird as part of experiment to evaluate the feasibility of translocating non-breeding adults from the Bearded Vulture population in the Pyrenees
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Fri

01

Feb

2019

Hatching of Bearded Vulture eggs in the Captive Breeding network begins

Tempranillo the first chick hatched at the Guadalentín Specialised Breeding Centre in Andalucia
Tempranillo the first chick hatched at the Guadalentín Specialised Breeding Centre in Andalucia
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Mon

28

Jan

2019

Our work reintroducing Bearded Vultures recognized at the Biodiversity and Society Awards in Valencia

 Deputy Regional Minister of the Environment at the Generalitat Valenciana Francesc Quesada presenting Alex Llopis with the prize at the Biodiversity and Society Awards 2018
Deputy Regional Minister of the Environment at the Generalitat Valenciana Francesc Quesada presenting Alex Llopis with the prize at the Biodiversity and Society Awards 2018
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Tue

22

Jan

2019

The sixth edition of La Plume du Life, the LIFE GypConnect newsletter, released

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Fri

18

Jan

2019

Wild Bearded Vultures get the 2018/19 breeding season off to an early start

Bearded Vulture during the breeding season in the Alps (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
Bearded Vulture during the breeding season in the Alps (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
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Tue

15

Jan

2019

Great results from the Bearded Vulture Breeding Season 2017/18 and our exciting plans for releasing birds in 2019

Bearded Vulture breeding pair incubating their clutch at the Green Balkans Wildlife Rescue Centre
Bearded Vulture breeding pair incubating their clutch at the Green Balkans Wildlife Rescue Centre
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Tue

08

Jan

2019

A great start to the Bearded Vulture breeding season

Bearded Vulture Keno incubating her two eggs at the Guadalentín Specialised Breeding Centre in Andalucía, Spain
Bearded Vulture Keno incubating her two eggs at the Guadalentín Specialised Breeding Centre in Andalucía, Spain
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Thu

03

Jan

2019

The International Bearded Vulture Monitoring Network 2017 Annual Report

Young captive-bred Bearded Vultures released at a hacking site (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
Young captive-bred Bearded Vultures released at a hacking site (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
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Thu

27

Dec

2018

December newsletter from Bearded Vulture news in the north Pyrenees

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Wed

19

Dec

2018

Bearded Vulture Calandreto travels back to the Massif Central after a summer in the Pyrenees - the connection is one step closer!

Bearded Vulture Calandreto photohraphed in Aragon (C)Jean Antonio Sesé
Bearded Vulture Calandreto photohraphed in Aragon (C)Jean Antonio Sesé
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Thu

13

Dec

2018

First clutch of the bearded vulture breeding season laid by pair in Andalucía

Bearded vulture breeding pair Joseph and Keno
Bearded vulture breeding pair Joseph and Keno
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Sat

08

Dec

2018

Brilliant video of young Andalucían bearded vulture Gea learning to eat bones

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Mon

03

Dec

2018

Conclusions from the Annual Bearded Vulture Meeting 2018

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Thu

29

Nov

2018

Bearded vulture Mia has become the first vulture in the world to have a artificial limb

MIa 3.5 months after her operation
MIa 3.5 months after her operation
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Tue

27

Nov

2018

The 24th Meeting of the French Vulture Network

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Mon

26

Nov

2018

Latest news from the Maestrazgo bearded vulture reintroduction project

Alòs seen in the Pico d 'Urbión in November
Alòs seen in the Pico d 'Urbión in November
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Thu

22

Nov

2018

New research review reveals the extent of lead contamination in wild vultures.

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Fri

16

Nov

2018

Bearded vulture spotted at supplementary feeding station in France with missing talons and digits

(c) LPO Aude
(c) LPO Aude
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Wed

14

Nov

2018

Breeding season is under way for the bearded vulture

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Tue

13

Nov

2018

Multiple raptors, including vultures, continue to be killed by electrocution

(c) RSCN
(c) RSCN
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Mon

12

Nov

2018

Field trips for the Annual Bearded Vulture Meeting 2018

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Sun

11

Nov

2018

Day Two of the Annual Bearded Vulture Meeting 2018

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Sat

10

Nov

2018

Day One of the Annual Bearded Vulture Meeting 2018

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Fri

09

Nov

2018

Over 140 delegates have joined us for the Annual Bearded Vulture Meeting 2018 in Cazorla, Spain

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Mon

05

Nov

2018

More Bearded Vultures On The Move thanks to your help!

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Thu

01

Nov

2018

Remarkable spotting of bearded vulture migrating from Europe across the Bosphorous

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Tue

30

Oct

2018

#Bred4theWild -bearded vulture conservation in South Africa

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Tue

23

Oct

2018

The VCF is looking for two consultants to help us improve internal management processes and our human resources systems

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Fri

19

Oct

2018

Join us for the 2018 Annual Bearded Vulture Meeting - Cazorla, Spain

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Fri

19

Oct

2018

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

(C) Hansruedi Weyrich
(C) Hansruedi Weyrich
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Thu

18

Oct

2018

Bearded vultures on the Move – mission accomplished!

(c)  Hansruedi Weyrich
(c) Hansruedi Weyrich
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Wed

17

Oct

2018

Catching up with Spanish bearded vultures Alòs and Amic

Alòs spotted in la Rioja region
Alòs spotted in la Rioja region
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Tue

16

Oct

2018

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

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Tue

16

Oct

2018

First five Bearded Vultures are on the Move

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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
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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
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Sat

13

Oct

2018

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

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Wed

10

Oct

2018

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

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Wed

03

Oct

2018

Why is #CountingBeardedVultures important?

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Tue

02

Oct

2018

Czech Zoo visitors helping to protect Europe’s rarest vulture

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Sat

29

Sep

2018

International Observation Days - what we found out from 2017

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Fri

28

Sep

2018

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

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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
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Tue

25

Sep

2018

Meet GypHelp BG 973 - a Bearded Vulture On The Move

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Mon

24

Sep

2018

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

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Wed

19

Sep

2018

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

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