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.

 

Mon

21

Aug

2017

Bearded vulture reintroduction projects 2017 - stories from the field I: the long flight of Durzon!

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Sun

20

Aug

2017

Two bearded vulture chicks fledge in the wild in Andalusia

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Tue

08

Aug

2017

Looking back to another successful bearded vulture release season – but two birds unfortunately died

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Tue

08

Aug

2017

New paper – southern Africa bearded vultures productivity is decreasing

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Sun

06

Aug

2017

Bearded vulture seen in Poland

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Wed

26

Jul

2017

The bearded vulture in the French Pyrenees – 43 pairs last year, 44 this year, and an improvement of productivity after a decade of stagnation

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Wed

19

Jul

2017

Bearded vultures in the Alps – with 45 territories, another record-breaking breeding season

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Wed

05

Jul

2017

Bearded vultures and lead poisoning – lead-free pilot sites on the cards in the French Pyrenees

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Sat

01

Jul

2017

New paper – bearded vulture foraging behaviour in the Pyrenees unaffected by policy-driven carcass management measures

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Tue

27

Jun

2017

Unlikely heroes behind the bearded vulture captive breeding programme – Andreas Eder and the animal transport van from Schönbrunn Zoo

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Sun

25

Jun

2017

The bearded vulture in Corsica in 2017: 4 pairs and no breeding in the wild, but the young released as part of the restocking programme doing well

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Sat

24

Jun

2017

Der Falke special edition on vultures now available to order

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Wed

21

Jun

2017

Adult bearded vulture rescued and re-released back to the wild in the French Alps

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Tue

20

Jun

2017

Guidelines for feeding bearded vultures in captivity are now also available in French

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Sat

17

Jun

2017

New paper on guidelines for evaluation and treatment of lead poisoning of wild raptors

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Thu

15

Jun

2017

Looking for (bearded vulture) Kilian

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Wed

07

Jun

2017

Saving the bearded vulture in Corsica – Luna and Ercu released last weekend

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Mon

05

Jun

2017

Two young Spanish bearded vultures will be released in the Swiss Mountains today

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Sun

04

Jun

2017

5 more bearded vultures released back into the wild yesterday by VCF and its partners – 2 in Vercors (Pre-Alps), 2 in Corsica and 1 in Andalucia

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Thu

01

Jun

2017

Great news from Andalusia – the two breeding pairs of bearded vulture continue to raise their young in Cazorla!

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Wed

31

May

2017

7th bearded vulture of 2017 to be released in Grands Causses tomorrow – 11 still to go!

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Tue

30

May

2017

Dutch birders get Lucky! Bearded vulture released in Austria last year delights birdwatchers across the Netherlands

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Sat

27

May

2017

One young bearded vulture was released in Cazorla – the first of six this year

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Wed

24

May

2017

A first for Sweden – young, probably wild, bearded vulture seen in the country

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Sat

20

May

2017

Who is the culprit when a bone falls on your roof?

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Fri

19

May

2017

Another young bearded vulture in the Netherlands and Germany

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Tue

16

May

2017

Bearded vultures Leoux & ProNatura released in Baronnies with hundreds of people celebrating one of the most remarkable wildlife comeback stories of our times

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Sat

13

May

2017

Two more bearded vultures will be released tomorrow in Baronnies – following the first successful release of the season in the Grands Causses on the 2nd of May

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Sun

07

May

2017

Breeding bearded vultures in captivity – in the words of a volunteer

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Sat

06

May

2017

Bearded vulture Roc Genèse came back to its natal area in the Pre-Pyrenees – his brother Flamadel could not be tagged

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Sun

30

Apr

2017

Reintroducing bearded vultures to the wild – first release of the Spring this week in the Grands Causses!

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Fri

28

Apr

2017

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

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Tue

25

Apr

2017

The VCF is supporting colleagues in South Africa to establish a captive-breeding programme for the bearded vulture

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Sun

23

Apr

2017

Ostrava Zoo runs campaign for the VCF – and produces one bearded vulture chick too

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Sun

16

Apr

2017

Easter eggs? Or how decades of experience contribute to breed bearded vultures in captivity for conservation

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Tue

11

Apr

2017

Spectacular aerial duel between bearded vultures in the French Alps results in the death of one of them

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Mon

10

Apr

2017

Bearded vultures in the Alps – on course for another record-breaking breeding season

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Fri

07

Apr

2017

Bearded vulture “Lea” (released in Austria in 2015) has been recovered weakened in Temú (Italy), near National Park Stelvio – probably a victim of collision

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Sat

01

Apr

2017

Young wandering bearded vulture now in northern Germany, on the North Sea.

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Mon

27

Mar

2017

Two pairs – and two chicks – in the bearded vulture reintroduction project in Andalusia!

Marchena (left) and Hortelano (right) flying together in their territory ® Paco Montoro
Marchena (left) and Hortelano (right) flying together in their territory ® Paco Montoro
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Sun

26

Mar

2017

Breeding bearded vultures for reintroduction: a tale of a successful adoption of hatchling in Guadalentin

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Thu

23

Mar

2017

2016 bearded vulture captive breeding season annual report just published – record breaking season, 27 young produced & 17 reintroduced back to the wild

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Wed

22

Mar

2017

How many bearded vultures are there in the Alps? See results from the 2016 International Observation day (simultaneous census)

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Fri

17

Mar

2017

Human persecution still a threat to Himalayan bearded vultures

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Mon

13

Mar

2017

The young bearded vulture is now in the Netherlands...

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Sat

11

Mar

2017

Bearded vultures and lead poisoning – The Cévennes National Park (France) is promoting lead-free hunting practices

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Fri

10

Mar

2017

Young wandering bearded vulture still in Germany!

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Wed

08

Mar

2017

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

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Sun

05

Mar

2017

Bearded vultures in the Alps – looks like we are having another great breeding season!

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Sat

04

Mar

2017

Bearded vulture clutch extracted from a wild nest in Corsica again –  part of a plan to save this highly endangered population from extinction

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Fri

24

Feb

2017

Bearded Vulture in Western Germany

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Mon

20

Feb

2017

Bearded vultures and lead poisoning – National Park Hohe Tauern (Austria) is promoting lead-free hunting practices

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Fri

17

Feb

2017

After Andalusia, bearded vultures are also breeding in Picos de Europa

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Mon

13

Feb

2017

And they are out - first two baby bearded vultures of the season hatched in Guadalentin

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Sun

12

Feb

2017

New data reveals there are 11-12 pairs of bearded vultures in Armenia

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Wed

25

Jan

2017

Tono and Blimunda lay an egg again in Andalusia – after the first ever successful breeding in the wild in 2015 following reintroduction, and after a gap in 2016

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Mon

23

Jan

2017

New paper on ranging of Pyrenean bearded vultures: supplementary feeding not that important (at least for breeding adults), and half of home ranges outside PAs

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Fri

20

Jan

2017

Bearded vulture captive breeding: Old ladies come to the rescue

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Sat

14

Jan

2017

News from the bearded vulture pairs in Andalusia: Hortelano & Marchena are in fine breeding plumage and going through all the breeding antics (see video)

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Fri

13

Jan

2017

Better and better at our bearded vulture captive breeding network – mortality rate decreases significantly while the average age at death increases!

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Mon

09

Jan

2017

Girun and Volcaire doing well – and have been celebrated by a Côtes du Rhône wine!

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Sun

08

Jan

2017

News from LIFE GYPCONNECT: Bearded vulture Roc Genèse is a male, is now in Spain, and its parents are breeding again

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Wed

04

Jan

2017

Tracking bearded vultures in Nepal – new research project by Tulsi Subedi

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Tue

03

Jan

2017

Bearded vultures in our captive breeding network kept laying eggs during Xmas and new Year!

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Fri

30

Dec

2016

A good end to a sad story - Adult bearded vulture found injured and lead-poisoned in the French Pyrenees successfully rehabilitated and released

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Tue

27

Dec

2016

Adonis – the bearded vulture last recorded in Romania, where a beer was named after it, is now back in the French Pre-Alps!

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Mon

26

Dec

2016

The Corsican bearded vulture chick extracted from an unproductive nest earlier this year is a female and is doing well!

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Fri

16

Dec

2016

Bearded vultures in the Alps are also breeding!

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Wed

14

Dec

2016

First bearded vulture in Israel for more than 10 years – and a bounty of black vultures too!

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Sat

10

Dec

2016

First eggs of the season in the bearded vulture captive-breeding network!

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Tue

06

Dec

2016

The bearded vulture breeding season is starting across Europe´s mountain ranges!

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Thu

01

Dec

2016

After failing in the last 4 years, the only bearded vulture pair in Andorra successfully fledged a chick this year - see the incredible images

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Mon

28

Nov

2016

Annual bearded vulture meeting 2016 – Conclusions

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Wed

23

Nov

2016

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

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Fri

18

Nov

2016

A second bearded vulture territorial pair confirmed in Andalusia

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Tue

15

Nov

2016

The 2016 Annual bearded vulture meeting a great success!

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Fri

04

Nov

2016

Vultures galore at the European Vulture Multi-species Action Plan Workshop held in Extremadura – and some great conclusions too!

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Wed

02

Nov

2016

Nuremberg Zoo has new aviary for their captive bearded vulture pair

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Sun

23

Oct

2016

New bearded vulture breeding season is just starting!

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Fri

21

Oct

2016

Key vulture workshop to be held next week in Monfrague (Spain) - to develop the European Vulture Multi-species Action Plan

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Tue

18

Oct

2016

Cheers for Adonis – Romanian beer company makes a special edition named after the long staying bearded vulture

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Mon

10

Oct

2016

Esperanza – the first bearded vulture wild born in Andalucía in 30+ years, has been to Gredos

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Sun

09

Oct

2016

A first for France – LIFE GYPHELP puts anti-collision markers on a high-voltage line with a drone

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Thu

06

Oct

2016

International observation day is this weekend – join us! Last year 700 volunteers counted ~190 bearded vultures, or 70% of the estimated Alpine population

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Tue

04

Oct

2016

Dark year for bearded vultures in Andalusia – two more birds found poisoned in the last weeks, total for this year 3

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Sun

26

Jun

2016

Another bearded vulture wandering in northern Europe – Adonis is now in Belarus!

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Sat

25

Jun

2016

Where is Larzac?

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Thu

23

Jun

2016

Two young bearded vultures to be released tomorrow in the Hohe Tauern National Park (Austria)

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Wed

22

Jun

2016

Another bearded vulture in Holland – this time a young reintroduced last year in the Grands Causses (Massif Central, France)

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Mon

20

Jun

2016

How bearded vultures get their orange colour in the wild?

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Fri

17

Jun

2016

Another great bearded vulture release in Andalucia

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Tue

14

Jun

2016

Immature bearded vulture in the Eastern Italian Alps (Friuli)

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Mon

13

Jun

2016

The 6th bearded vulture to be released in Andalucía this year will be put on the hacking platform today

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Mon

06

Jun

2016

More than 200 people saw Girun and Volcaire being released in the Baronnies – a new site in our project to re-establish bearded vultures across Europe

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Thu

02

Jun

2016

Linking bearded vultures from the Alps to the Pyrenees: two young bearded vultures will be released tomorrow in a new site in the Baronnies

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Wed

01

Jun

2016

Roc Genèse fledged from its wild nest in the French Pyrenees

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Tue

31

May

2016

Restoring bearded vultures across Europe – two more birds released in the Swiss Alps

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Mon

30

May

2016

Two more young bearded vultures released in Lozère

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Fri

27

May

2016

Good & bad news from Andalusia: while two more bearded vultures will be released today in Castril, one bird was found dead– poisoned,  elsewhere in the province

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Wed

25

May

2016

Vagrancy season: two young bearded vultures flying around northern Europe (UK and Denmark)

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