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

25

Sep

2020

The latest movements of 58 wild 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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Wed

23

Sep

2020

Bearded Vulture “Vigo” left Derbyshire and is heading south — where to now?

Bearded Vulture Vigo (c) Indy Green
Bearded Vulture Vigo (c) Indy Green
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Tue

22

Sep

2020

How many Bearded Vultures are currently present in Vercors where the species is being reintroduced?

 Bearded Vulture Kobalann (c) Olivier Teilhard
Bearded Vulture Kobalann (c) Olivier Teilhard
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Sat

19

Sep

2020

Upcoming Virtual Vulture Trivia Quizzes — for adults and families

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Wed

16

Sep

2020

Vulture watching: Tarifa during bird migration - the European region where you might see six vulture species!

Rüppell's Vulture in Tarifa (c) Javi Elorriaga/ Birding the Strait
Rüppell's Vulture in Tarifa (c) Javi Elorriaga/ Birding the Strait
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Sun

13

Sep

2020

International Observation Days: Volunteers needed to help count Bearded Vultures in Europe on Saturday 3 October 2020

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

11

Sep

2020

Research review: study finds no clear evidence that vultures spread microorganisms to humans and other species, but more likely reduce disease transmission

Griffon Vultures/illustrative (c) Pilar Oliva
Griffon Vultures/illustrative (c) Pilar Oliva
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Sun

06

Sep

2020

2020 Annual Bearded Vulture Meeting cancelled – but join us for a webinar on Bearded Vultures on November 13th!

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

05

Sep

2020

Why we need to protect vultures

Griffon Vulture (c) Pilar Oliva
Griffon Vulture (c) Pilar Oliva
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Fri

04

Sep

2020

West Nile Virus poses a threat to Bearded Vultures in captivity – and to humans too

Captive Bearded Vulture in Guadalentín/ illustrative (c) Junta de Andalucía
Captive Bearded Vulture in Guadalentín/ illustrative (c) Junta de Andalucía
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Wed

02

Sep

2020

Critical EU vote this Thursday to ban lead shot in wetlands – and that matters to vultures too!

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Mon

31

Aug

2020

A Bearded Vulture released in Maestrazgo this year was found dead

The carcass of Cocó
The carcass of Cocó
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Sat

29

Aug

2020

Celebrate the International Vulture Awareness Day on 5 September with us!

European vulture species (c) Bruno Berhtemy
European vulture species (c) Bruno Berhtemy
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Fri

28

Aug

2020

Research review: New study demonstrates prevalence of high lead contamination among raptors, especially scavengers, in Europe

Graphical abstract (Monclus et al. 2020)
Graphical abstract (Monclus et al. 2020)
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Mon

24

Aug

2020

Vulture Scavenger Hunt — an educational activity for children

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Wed

19

Aug

2020

Griffon Vulture chicks jump from nest in Serbia following helicopter disturbance

Griffon Vulture/illustrative (c) Bruno Berthemy
Griffon Vulture/illustrative (c) Bruno Berthemy
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Sun

16

Aug

2020

Bearded Vulture fledges in Picos de Europa for the first time in decades

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

10

Aug

2020

Vulture Conservation Foundation's statement on 'repatriation' of the Bearded Vulture in the UK

Bearded Vulture in the UK  © Indy Kiemel Greene
Bearded Vulture in the UK © Indy Kiemel Greene
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Mon

10

Aug

2020

Taller Cría en Cautividad de Quebrantahuesos en Andalucía (Aplazado)

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Fri

07

Aug

2020

Report on wildlife poisoning in Spain between 1992-2017

Poisoned Egyptian Vulture in Spain (c) Nursery Forestry of Navarra
Poisoned Egyptian Vulture in Spain (c) Nursery Forestry of Navarra
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Wed

05

Aug

2020

Rehabilitated captive-bred Bearded Vulture marks the last release for 2020

Aven in the rehabilitation centre (c) Green Balkans
Aven in the rehabilitation centre (c) Green Balkans
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Sun

02

Aug

2020

Bearded Vulture pair bonding: choosing the right partner for a selective species

Aïnat & BG398 (c) VCF
Aïnat & BG398 (c) VCF
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Wed

29

Jul

2020

Research review: Nocturnal flights by Bearded Vultures detected for the first-time using GPS and accelerometer data

Bearded Vulture in flight (c) Pilar Oliva
Bearded Vulture in flight (c) Pilar Oliva
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Mon

27

Jul

2020

First successful nesting of Bearded Vulture in Piedmont since the beginning of the Alpine reintroduction project

Bearded Vulture Belavri in flight (c) Maurizio Chiereghin
Bearded Vulture Belavri in flight (c) Maurizio Chiereghin
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Sun

26

Jul

2020

Monograph: The Bearded Vulture in Spain - Breeding population in 2018 and census method

Bearded Vulture in flight (c) Nello Petito
Bearded Vulture in flight (c) Nello Petito
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Thu

23

Jul

2020

Bearded Vulture European Endangered Species Programme (EEP) Annual Report 2019

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Mon

20

Jul

2020

Our Research Officer's take on the Bearded Vulture in the Peak District, UK

Bearded Vulture soaring the skies in the Peak District (c) Louis Phipps/VCF
Bearded Vulture soaring the skies in the Peak District (c) Louis Phipps/VCF
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Thu

16

Jul

2020

Genetic analysis reveals the origin of a wandering Bearded Vulture that was rescued, rehabilitated and released in France

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Wed

15

Jul

2020

Second record of Bearded Vulture in the UK — why did it travel to the UK, where did it come from and will it return home?

The Bearded Vulture photographed at Howden Moors (c) Will Bowell
The Bearded Vulture photographed at Howden Moors (c) Will Bowell
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Mon

13

Jul

2020

The final Bearded Vulture release in Andalusia for 2020

The final release of Bearded Vultures in Andalusia for 2020 (c) Junta de Andalucía
The final release of Bearded Vultures in Andalusia for 2020 (c) Junta de Andalucía
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Sat

11

Jul

2020

Update on the Bearded Vultures recently released in France

Bearded Vulture Dolomie in flight (c) LIFE GypConnect
Bearded Vulture Dolomie in flight (c) LIFE GypConnect
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Tue

07

Jul

2020

Ecosystem service provision – what do vultures do for us and the environment?

Egyptian and Griffon Vulture (c) Pilar Oliva
Egyptian and Griffon Vulture (c) Pilar Oliva
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Mon

06

Jul

2020

From the Grands Causses to the French Pyrenees — the travels of Bearded Vulture Cévennes

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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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