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.

 

Tue

21

May

2019

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

Read More

Thu

16

May

2019

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

Read More

Sun

12

May

2019

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

Read More

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
Read More

Fri

03

May

2019

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

Read More

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
Read More

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
Read More

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
Read More

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
Read More

Fri

15

Mar

2019

First wild born Bearded Vulture in Andalucia returns to the region

Read More

Fri

01

Mar

2019

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

Read More

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
Read More

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
Read More

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
Read More

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
Read More

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
Read More

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
Read More

Tue

22

Jan

2019

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

Read More

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
Read More

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
Read More

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
Read More

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
Read More

Thu

27

Dec

2018

December newsletter from Bearded Vulture news in the north Pyrenees

Read More

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
Read More

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
Read More

Sat

08

Dec

2018

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

Read More

Mon

03

Dec

2018

Conclusions from the Annual Bearded Vulture Meeting 2018

Read More

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
Read More

Tue

27

Nov

2018

The 24th Meeting of the French Vulture Network

Read More

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
Read More

Thu

22

Nov

2018

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

Read More

Fri

16

Nov

2018

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

(c) LPO Aude
(c) LPO Aude
Read More

Wed

14

Nov

2018

Breeding season is under way for the bearded vulture

Read More

Tue

13

Nov

2018

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

Read More

Mon

12

Nov

2018

Field trips for the Annual Bearded Vulture Meeting 2018

Read More

Sun

11

Nov

2018

Day Two of the Annual Bearded Vulture Meeting 2018

Read More

Sat

10

Nov

2018

Day One of the Annual Bearded Vulture Meeting 2018

Read More

Fri

09

Nov

2018

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

Read More

Mon

05

Nov

2018

More Bearded Vultures On The Move thanks to your help!

Read More

Thu

01

Nov

2018

Remarkable spotting of bearded vulture migrating from Europe across the Bosphorous

Read More

Tue

30

Oct

2018

#Bred4theWild -bearded vulture conservation in South Africa

Read More

Tue

23

Oct

2018

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

Read More

Fri

19

Oct

2018

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

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

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

Donate

Support our work and help us protect vultures

Want to keep up to date?

Campaigns