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

03

Jul

2020

Vulture Research Update: November 2019 - June 2020

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Sun

28

Jun

2020

How GPS technology is key to securing the future of vultures

Cinereous Vulture with a GPS transmitter © Franziska Lörcher
Cinereous Vulture with a GPS transmitter © Franziska Lörcher
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Sat

27

Jun

2020

Second observation of a Bearded Vulture in the UK

Bearded Vulture in the UK (c) Lucy Burrell
Bearded Vulture in the UK (c) Lucy Burrell
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Thu

25

Jun

2020

International Observation Days 2019: The Bearded Vulture population estimates across several European regions

Bearded Vulture observed in Switzerland during IOD 2019 (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
Bearded Vulture observed in Switzerland during IOD 2019 (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
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Sat

20

Jun

2020

Another young Bearded Vulture released at Parque Natural de Cazorla in Andalusia as part of the reintroduction project

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Thu

18

Jun

2020

Reintroduced Bearded Vulture Cintu wandered away from Corsica for a brief trip!

The round trip of Cintu from Corsica to Capraia Isola
The round trip of Cintu from Corsica to Capraia Isola
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Wed

17

Jun

2020

The latest movements of captive-bred and wild-hatched Bearded Vultures across seven important European regions

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

16

Jun

2020

Closer to reintroducing Bearded Vultures to the Grands Causses with the latest release of four birds

Bearded Vulture Eglazine at the hacking site (c) LIFE GypConnect
Bearded Vulture Eglazine at the hacking site (c) LIFE GypConnect
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Mon

15

Jun

2020

Two young Bearded Vultures released in Switzerland as part of the Alpine reintroduction project

Bearded Vulture Luzerna (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
Bearded Vulture Luzerna (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
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Sat

13

Jun

2020

Newest Bearded Vulture reintroduction project in Tinença de Benifassà (Maestrazgo) released two more young birds

Bearded Vulture released at the hacking site (c) Bruno Durán / Maestrazgo-Els Ports
Bearded Vulture released at the hacking site (c) Bruno Durán / Maestrazgo-Els Ports
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Fri

12

Jun

2020

Status, conservation and captive breeding of Bearded Vultures in Southern Africa

Feeding chick with a Bearded Vulture puppet to avoid human imprinting (c) Bred4theWild
Feeding chick with a Bearded Vulture puppet to avoid human imprinting (c) Bred4theWild
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Wed

10

Jun

2020

Ninth record of a Bearded Vulture in Portugal in the last 100 years

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Sun

07

Jun

2020

Three additional Bearded Vultures released at Parque Natural de Cazorla in Andalusia!

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Fri

05

Jun

2020

How do vultures contribute to our environment?

Griffon Vultures and Cinereous Vultures (c) Pilar Oliva
Griffon Vultures and Cinereous Vultures (c) Pilar Oliva
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Thu

04

Jun

2020

A Bearded Vulture cycling jersey combines conservation and sustainability!

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Thu

04

Jun

2020

Two young captive-bred Bearded Vultures released in the Parc Naturel Régional du Vercors in the French pre-Alps

Transferring one of the Bearded Vultures (c) Benoit Betton
Transferring one of the Bearded Vultures (c) Benoit Betton
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Sat

30

May

2020

Electrocuted in Turkey: Vultures and other soaring birds under threat

Polya died from electrocution in Turkey (c) Süleyman Atil
Polya died from electrocution in Turkey (c) Süleyman Atil
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Fri

29

May

2020

Two captive-bred Bearded Vultures from Austrian and Czech zoos released in Baronnies

One of the released Bearded Vultures (c) Pascal Orabi/LPO
One of the released Bearded Vultures (c) Pascal Orabi/LPO
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Mon

25

May

2020

Watch: Guadalentín — the centre that breeds the most Bearded Vultures

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Thu

21

May

2020

Introducing a schematic sampling protocol for raptor biomonitoring to harmonize procedures across Europe

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Wed

20

May

2020

Bearded Vulture vagrancy: leaving the mountains to explore the North of France

Bearded Vulture in Normandy © Sandrine Blondet
Bearded Vulture in Normandy © Sandrine Blondet
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Fri

15

May

2020

How many Bearded Vultures hatched this breeding season in captivity?

Bearded Vulture chick (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
Bearded Vulture chick (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
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Wed

13

May

2020

Food shortage will not be a problem this summer for our Bearded Vulture breeding centres

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Mon

11

May

2020

Research review: New study estimates the Bearded Vulture population in the Pyrenees at around 1,000 individuals

Bearded Vulture in the Pyrenees (c) Pilar Oliva
Bearded Vulture in the Pyrenees (c) Pilar Oliva
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Sun

10

May

2020

Two Bearded Vulture siblings kick off the 2020 release season in Andalusia

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Wed

06

May

2020

Birdski: mitigating threats in ski areas to protect Bearded Vultures in the French Alps

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

03

May

2020

Watch vulture videos and nest cams to feel closer to our feathered friends

Griffon Vultures and Bearded Vulture (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
Griffon Vultures and Bearded Vulture (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
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Sat

02

May

2020

Are vultures really becoming livestock predators? Shedding some light on negative misconceptions and false accusations – new paper

Griffon Vultures (c) Gianluca Damiani
Griffon Vultures (c) Gianluca Damiani
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Mon

27

Apr

2020

Bearded Vultures try to breed for the first time on the Moncayo Mountains (Easternmost Central Iberian Massif)

Bearded Vulture pair/illustrative (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
Bearded Vulture pair/illustrative (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
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Fri

24

Apr

2020

Research review: new article demonstrates the value of research for effective vulture conservation

Cinereous Vulture (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
Cinereous Vulture (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
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Wed

22

Apr

2020

Earth Day 2020: Why it is more important than ever to preserve our nature and vultures

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Fri

10

Apr

2020

Research review: recent study describes the movements of Bearded Vultures in the Himalayas

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

09

Apr

2020

Together for Bearded Vultures — taking measures to tackle COVID-19 issues

Feeding a Bearded Vulture chick (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
Feeding a Bearded Vulture chick (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
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Tue

07

Apr

2020

Latest newsletter of the IUCN Vulture Specialist Group

Egyptian and Griffon Vulture (c) Atanas Delchev
Egyptian and Griffon Vulture (c) Atanas Delchev
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Sat

04

Apr

2020

The Vulture Conservation Foundation is hiring a Bearded Vulture Captive Breeding Assistant

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Sun

29

Mar

2020

Research review: New study illustrates how larger vulture species and older individuals are most dominant when competing at carcasses

Cinereous and Griffon Vultures (c) Bruno Berthemy
Cinereous and Griffon Vultures (c) Bruno Berthemy
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Thu

26

Mar

2020

Bearded Vulture Adonis returned to Grands Causses and paired...with another male

Bearded Vulture Adonis photographed in August (c) Florian Durand
Bearded Vulture Adonis photographed in August (c) Florian Durand
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Mon

23

Mar

2020

Bearded Vulture hatches in Picos de Europa for the first time in nearly seven decades

Bearded Vulture pair/illustrative (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
Bearded Vulture pair/illustrative (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
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Sat

21

Mar

2020

Watch: The final push - the hatching of a Bearded Vulture chick

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Fri

20

Mar

2020

Prevent poisoning: leave lead ammunition to history

Bearded Vulture (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
Bearded Vulture (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
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Thu

19

Mar

2020

Life, vultures and COVID19 – we live in a brand-new world

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Wed

18

Mar

2020

Operation "Save chick Ryan": transportation of Bearded Vulture before Spain's COVID-19 lockdown

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Tue

17

Mar

2020

A letter from 1791 takes us back in time to see how the Bearded Vulture was perceived in Switzerland during that period

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Sun

15

Mar

2020

IUCN's Vulture Specialist Group position on the role of vultures in disease transmission

Bearded Vulture (c) AmandaGuercio
Bearded Vulture (c) AmandaGuercio
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Fri

13

Mar

2020

Two reintroduced Bearded Vultures observed and identified in the wild again

Gerlinde (c)  Romain Barou
Gerlinde (c) Romain Barou
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Thu

12

Mar

2020

Bearded Vulture chicks in Andalucia are hatching both in the wild and in captivity!

Ochoa - the fourth Bearded Vulture chick to hatch in Guadalentin in 2020
Ochoa - the fourth Bearded Vulture chick to hatch in Guadalentin in 2020
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Mon

09

Mar

2020

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

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

03

Mar

2020

#WorldWildlifeDay: Together we can save vultures - how the Bearded Vulture is returning to its former range in Europe

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

29

Feb

2020

Possibly the highest Bearded Vulture nest at almost 5000 metres altitude discovered in the Himalayas

The highest Bearded Vulture nest officially recorded (c) Cesáreo Punzano/Francisco Montoro
The highest Bearded Vulture nest officially recorded (c) Cesáreo Punzano/Francisco Montoro
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Thu

27

Feb

2020

Watch what it takes to breed a Bearded Vulture in captivity

(c) VCF
(c) VCF
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Wed

26

Feb

2020

The VCF at the CoP13 of the Convention for Migratory Species

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Sat

22

Feb

2020

The latest addition to the captive Bearded Vulture family - say hello to BG1057

Bearded Vulture BG1057 (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
Bearded Vulture BG1057 (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
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Thu

20

Feb

2020

Vulture MsAP Strategic Implementation Plan Launched

African White-backed Vulture (c) Andre Botha
African White-backed Vulture (c) Andre Botha
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Wed

19

Feb

2020

How LIFE GypConnect is reintroducing the Bearded Vulture to Baronnies

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Sun

16

Feb

2020

Guidelines for feeding Bearded Vultures in captivity are now also available in Bulgarian and Russian

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Fri

07

Feb

2020

Watch directly from the nest the Bearded Vulture pair from Valsavarenche during this breeding period

The pair at the nest (c) Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso
The pair at the nest (c) Parco Nazionale Gran Paradiso
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Wed

05

Feb

2020

Meet Kobe - the first captive-bred Bearded Vulture chick of the season!

Meet Kobe - the first Bearded Vulture chick that hatched in captivity this season (c) VCF
Meet Kobe - the first Bearded Vulture chick that hatched in captivity this season (c) VCF
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Wed

29

Jan

2020

Restoring Bearded Vulture populations in nature requires help from zoos

Bearded Vulture pair BG672 & BG576 at Zoologischer Garten Frankfurt
Bearded Vulture pair BG672 & BG576 at Zoologischer Garten Frankfurt
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Wed

22

Jan

2020

Brilliant photograph of an encounter between Bearded Vulture Carmen and Griffon Vulture in Barronies

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Sat

18

Jan

2020

The 2019/20 Bearded Vulture breeding season in the Alps is off to an early start

Bearded Vulture (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
Bearded Vulture (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
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Sat

11

Jan

2020

The Bearded Vulture breeding trio in Ecrins laid an egg for the 3rd consecutive year

The breeding trio in Ecrins © Cathy Ribot/Envergures alpines
The breeding trio in Ecrins © Cathy Ribot/Envergures alpines
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Mon

30

Dec

2019

Vulture Conservation – 2019 Overview

(c) Bruno Berthemy
(c) Bruno Berthemy
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Sun

29

Dec

2019

Bearded Vulture Conservation - 2019 Overview

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

24

Dec

2019

Bearded Vulture pairs in captivity started laying eggs

M. Antoinette with her egg in December 2019 © VCF
M. Antoinette with her egg in December 2019 © VCF
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Mon

23

Dec

2019

Der Falke special issue on vultures: Biology - Threats - Conservation

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Fri

20

Dec

2019

Conclusions of the Annual Bearded Vulture Meeting 2019

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Wed

18

Dec

2019

Complicated surgery gives Bearded Vulture Flamadel new hope for his future

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Mon

16

Dec

2019

Bearded Vulture Silviano regained her freedom in the heart of the Pyrenees

Silviano takes off! (c) Gregoire Trunet Photographie
Silviano takes off! (c) Gregoire Trunet Photographie
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Tue

03

Dec

2019

Vulture Conservation Foundation Film - Together for Vultures

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Sat

30

Nov

2019

One of Switzerland's first wild-hatched Bearded Vultures is dead

Bearded Vulture GT0047 photographed in 2012 (c) David Jenny
Bearded Vulture GT0047 photographed in 2012 (c) David Jenny
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Mon

25

Nov

2019

White Bearded Vulture observed in the Alps - a rare sight for the region

White Bearded Vulture (c) André Roveyaz
White Bearded Vulture (c) André Roveyaz
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Fri

22

Nov

2019

Mesmerizing footage of a Bearded Vulture bathing

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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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