The Lammergeier or Bearded VultureGypaetus barbatus (“Bearded Vulture-Eagle”), is an old world vulture – not related to nowadays most common vultures. Its the only member of the genus Gypaetus. It breeds on crags in high mountains in southern Europe, Africa, India, and Tibet, laying one or two eggs in mid-winter which hatch at the beginning of spring. The population is resident. The Lammergeier has been successfully re-introduced into the Alps, but is still one of the rarest raptors in Europe.

Like other vultures, it is a scavenger, feeding mostly from carcasses of dead animals. It usually disdains the rotting meat, however, and lives on a diet that is 90% bone marrow. It will drop large bone from a height to crack them into smaller pieces. Its old name of Ossifrage (“bone breaker”) relates to this habit. Live tortoises are also dropped in similar fashion to crack them open.

The Bearded vulture reaches 1.10 m in size (from head to tail), its wingspan is around 2.8 m and it weighs about 5-7 kg.

Where to find the Gypaetus Barbatus Barbatus in Europe.

It’s also found in other places of Europe. Nowadays there are about 77 pairs in the Pyrenees, in the island of Corsica there are 10 pairs and in the Balkans there are 2-3 pairs, while in the Alps, where the species has been reintroduced, there are 80 individuals and 4 pairs.
Other exemplars can be found in the isle of Crete (Greece).

The bearded vulture is, however, not in a serious risk of extinguishing. More exemplars can be found in large zones of Africa and Asia, divided into two sub-species: the Gypaetus Barbatus Barbatus and the Gypaetus Barbatus Meridionalis. The ones in Europe are Gypaetus B. Barbatus.

A little video, filmed in the Spanish Pyrenees.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SRAiprmegXg

Last but not least, a webpage from Spain dedicated to help this noble animal

http://www.quebrantahuesos.org/htm/es/fcq/intro.htm

Cheers 😀

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