Lifespan, longevity, and ageing

provided by AnAge articles
Maximum longevity: 40 years (captivity)
license
cc-by-3.0
copyright
Joao Pedro de Magalhaes
editor
de Magalhaes, J. P.
partner site
AnAge articles

Behavior

provided by Animal Diversity Web

Bearded vultures are rarely vocal birds. However, during mating, they often make loud chuckling noises. During courtship displays, bearded vultures are reported to emit a sharp, guttural "koolik, koolik", as well as twittering shrill-like noises. They also frequently use aerial displays and chases to communicate territory boundaries, and to defend or attract mates. They are considered Old World vultures, and like other vultures of this group they have a poorly developed sense of smell. These birds rely heavily on excellent eyesight to locate carcasses. Like all birds, bearded vultures perceive their environments through visual, tactile, auditory and chemical stimuli.

Communication Channels: visual ; acoustic

Perception Channels: visual ; tactile ; acoustic ; chemical

license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors
bibliographic citation
Tenenzapf, J. 2011. "Gypaetus barbatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Gypaetus_barbatus.html
author
Jonathan Tenenzapf, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Phil Myers, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Rachelle Sterling, Special Projects
original
visit source
partner site
Animal Diversity Web

Conservation Status

provided by Animal Diversity Web

Population densities of bearded vultures are very low, as they can occupy massive ranges. In all three continents, the range of bearded vultures has decreased tremendously, particularly in Europe. Potential reasons for this include illegal poisoning of baits set for carnivores, degradation of habitats, and disturbance in breeding areas. Bearded vultures in Europe are considered endangered, with less than 150 territories remaining in the European Union in 2007, and are currently being reintroduced in the Pyrenees and the Alps. However, because of the extremely large range of these birds, they are of least concern (LC) on the IUCN list for threatened species.

CITES: no special status

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: least concern

license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors
bibliographic citation
Tenenzapf, J. 2011. "Gypaetus barbatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Gypaetus_barbatus.html
author
Jonathan Tenenzapf, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Phil Myers, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Rachelle Sterling, Special Projects
original
visit source
partner site
Animal Diversity Web

Benefits

provided by Animal Diversity Web

There are no adverse effects of Gypaetus barbatus on humans. Unfortunately, as bearded vultures were often seen carrying large animal bones, they were assumed to kill farmers' livestock. An old, common name for these birds is "Lammergeier" which comes from a German word meaning "lamb-vulture." Many birds have been, and continue to be, persecuted for this assumption despite their scavenging habits.

license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors
bibliographic citation
Tenenzapf, J. 2011. "Gypaetus barbatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Gypaetus_barbatus.html
author
Jonathan Tenenzapf, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Phil Myers, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Rachelle Sterling, Special Projects
original
visit source
partner site
Animal Diversity Web

Benefits

provided by Animal Diversity Web

As carrion scavengers, Gypaetus barbatus contribute to rotting carcass removal and help control disease within ecosystems.

license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors
bibliographic citation
Tenenzapf, J. 2011. "Gypaetus barbatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Gypaetus_barbatus.html
author
Jonathan Tenenzapf, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Phil Myers, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Rachelle Sterling, Special Projects
original
visit source
partner site
Animal Diversity Web

Associations

provided by Animal Diversity Web

As feeders on carrion, bearded vultures dispose of rotting remains and help keep the ecosystem clear of disease. Bearded vultures will wait patiently at a cliff edge until other scavengers have finished eating, and will not compete for food. As a result, they often feed on older carcasses and offal, clearing even the least desirable remains other scavengers would not eat.

Ecosystem Impact: biodegradation

license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors
bibliographic citation
Tenenzapf, J. 2011. "Gypaetus barbatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Gypaetus_barbatus.html
author
Jonathan Tenenzapf, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Phil Myers, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Rachelle Sterling, Special Projects
original
visit source
partner site
Animal Diversity Web

Trophic Strategy

provided by Animal Diversity Web

Gypaetus barbatus are strictly carnivorous but have a unique diet consisting mainly of bones. Like many other vultures they are scavengers, preying on the carcasses of dead animals. Deceased mammals account for 93% of their diets, with 61% being medium-sized ungulates. G. barbatus is also known to prey on tortoises and various species of birds.

The diet of G. barbatus consists exclusively of bones (85%) and carrion. They prefer to feed on bones as adults, though scraps of meat or skin are an important part of the diet for chicks. Bearded vultures have an extremely high acid content of the stomach that allows them to digest bones within a 24 hour period. Bones eaten can be up to 10 cm in diameter, and can weigh up to 4 kg. Large bones are picked up by their talons, lifted up 50 to 150 m in the air, and carried over to rocky bone-dropping sites called ossuaries. Here they are dropped repeatedly until they break open and bone marrow can be consumed. Bearded vultures use similar techniques to kill tortoises, small birds, and smaller mammal prey such as marmots and hares. Bearded vultures often trap larger ungulates near the edges of cliffs and force them to fall off by the vigorous beating of their wings.

Bearded vultures prefer fatty bones, which have a higher percentage of oleic acid than non-fatty bones, and are associated with optimizing both time spent foraging and energy use. Once they locate a carcass, bearded vultures often wait for other, meat-eating scavengers to pick the bones clean before feeding.

Animal Foods: birds; mammals; reptiles; eggs; carrion

Primary Diet: carnivore (Scavenger )

license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors
bibliographic citation
Tenenzapf, J. 2011. "Gypaetus barbatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Gypaetus_barbatus.html
author
Jonathan Tenenzapf, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Phil Myers, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Rachelle Sterling, Special Projects
original
visit source
partner site
Animal Diversity Web

Distribution

provided by Animal Diversity Web

The range of bearded vultures extends across southern Europe and Asia, from as far east as the Pyrenees mountains of Spain to as far west as India and Tibet, south-central China, and southern Siberia. They can also be found across the Ethiopian highlands, as well as in northeast Uganda, west Kenya, Lesotho and southeastern South Africa. Isolated populations inhabit northern Morocco and possibly Algeria.

There are thirteen different subspecies of bearded vultures, though most lack sufficient grounds to be wholly considered. Gypaetus barbatus barbatus is restricted to northwest Africa, while Gypaetus barbatus meridionalis can be found throughout eastern Africa and the nation of South Africa. Gypaetus barbatus aureus can be found throughout Europe and Asia, while Gypaetus barbatus altaicus are found only in the Himalayas and mountains of central Asia.

Biogeographic Regions: palearctic (Native ); oriental (Native ); ethiopian (Native )

license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors
bibliographic citation
Tenenzapf, J. 2011. "Gypaetus barbatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Gypaetus_barbatus.html
author
Jonathan Tenenzapf, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Phil Myers, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Rachelle Sterling, Special Projects
original
visit source
partner site
Animal Diversity Web

Habitat

provided by Animal Diversity Web

Bearded vultures can be found at high elevations in mountainous regions. They reside between 300 and 4,500 meters above sea level, though most frequently above 2,000 meters. They often inhabit desolate areas containing cliffs, precipices, or gorges overlooking pastures and meadows where prey animals and their predators reside. Inhabiting such an area gives scavenging bearded vultures potential access to the remains of hunted-down prey.

Range elevation: 300 to 4500 m.

Average elevation: 2000+ m.

Habitat Regions: temperate ; tropical ; terrestrial

Terrestrial Biomes: desert or dune ; forest ; mountains

license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors
bibliographic citation
Tenenzapf, J. 2011. "Gypaetus barbatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Gypaetus_barbatus.html
author
Jonathan Tenenzapf, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Phil Myers, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Rachelle Sterling, Special Projects
original
visit source
partner site
Animal Diversity Web

Life Expectancy

provided by Animal Diversity Web

Gypaetus barbatus individuals have a mean lifespan in the wild of 21.4 years. However, in captivity they have lived for over 45 years.

Range lifespan
Status: captivity:
45 (high) years.

Average lifespan
Status: wild:
21.4 years.

license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors
bibliographic citation
Tenenzapf, J. 2011. "Gypaetus barbatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Gypaetus_barbatus.html
author
Jonathan Tenenzapf, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Phil Myers, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Rachelle Sterling, Special Projects
original
visit source
partner site
Animal Diversity Web

Morphology

provided by Animal Diversity Web

Bearded vultures are extremely large vultures that range in weight from 4.5 to 7.0 kg, have a total length between 94 and 125 cm and a much longer wingspan of 231 to 283 cm. Sexes are very similar in appearance, though females are, on average, slightly larger. Adults are a dark gray-black or gray-blue, with a slightly darker tail and lighter shaft-streaks. Each side of the face is separated by a thick black band around the eyes, with long, broad black bristles at the base of the bill that resemble a beard. The forehead is a cream color, while the rest of the head is a maize color, often becoming more of a rusty orange color on the neck and abdomen. This rufous coloration is caused by bathing in iron-rich water, and variation in bathing time among individuals results in different shades of color in these areas. Unlike most vultures, bearded vultures lack an entirely bald head and feature an almost shaggy, fully feathered neck and legs. Increased featheration is likely due to differences in diet; bearded vultures subsist mainly on bones while most vultures primarily consume carrion.

Juvenile bearded vultures have a much different physical appearance than adults. These birds possess a dark gray-brown coloration, with a slightly lighter gray-brown abdomen and a dark brown to black colored head and neck. Due to this dark coloration, the shorter beard of juvenile bearded vultures is much less conspicuous.

The subspecies of Gypaetus barbatus have defining physical appearances as adults that distinguish them from one another. Gypaetus barbatus barbatus possesses joined black eye-patches, black face-streaks, a partially or fully black gorget, and a completely feathered tarsi. Gypaetus barbatus aureus is slightly larger and more prominently marked than its northwest African relative. Gypaetus barbatus meridionalis is on average smaller than Gypaetus barbatus barbatus, lacks the face-streaks, gorget, and joined eye patches, and has 4 to 5 cm of the tarsi left unfeathered.

Range mass: 4.5 to 7.2 kg.

Range length: 94 to 125 cm.

Range wingspan: 231 to 283 cm.

Other Physical Features: endothermic ; homoiothermic; bilateral symmetry

Sexual Dimorphism: female larger

license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors
bibliographic citation
Tenenzapf, J. 2011. "Gypaetus barbatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Gypaetus_barbatus.html
author
Jonathan Tenenzapf, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Phil Myers, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Rachelle Sterling, Special Projects
original
visit source
partner site
Animal Diversity Web

Associations

provided by Animal Diversity Web

The technique of feeding and conspicuous nesting sites of bearded vultures make chicks vulnerable to kleptoparasitism. They have aggressive interactions with common ravens, golden eagles, griffon vultures and other bearded vultures. Bearded vultures are very territorial and use aerial attacks to defend their nests from competitors. As a result, there is a negative energy cost on bearded vultures, especially during the early breeding periods when fledglings are young.

Known Predators:

  • Common ravens (Corvus corax)
  • Golden eagles (Aquila chrysaetos)
  • Griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus)
license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors
bibliographic citation
Tenenzapf, J. 2011. "Gypaetus barbatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Gypaetus_barbatus.html
author
Jonathan Tenenzapf, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Phil Myers, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Rachelle Sterling, Special Projects
original
visit source
partner site
Animal Diversity Web

Reproduction

provided by Animal Diversity Web

Bearded vultures are mostly monogamous, though polyandrous trios can be found commonly in the Pyrenees mountain range of Spain and France. Unpaired or free-floating males will often join a pre-existing male and female pair, creating a trio. This behavior increases population densities of bearded vultures, which may be responsible for delayed maturity in wild bearded vultures. The formation of polyandrous trios in bearded vultures has also led to intrasexual competition between males. These intrasexual aggressions lower the frequency of heterosexual copulations during the fertile period. However, aggression tends to decrease within a trio over time.

Pairs of bearded vultures engage in copulations between 50 and 90 days before egg laying. Males tend to copulate with females more frequently in the evening after foraging for prey or bones. This may be a form of sperm competition, with individual males fighting to be the last to copulate with a female. Reverse mounting is common among polyandrous trios. After the alpha male drives off the beta male, he is mounted by the female.

Female bearded vultures in polyandrous trios prefer to mate with alpha males, but will also mate with beta males. Mating with a larger number of males may benefit the female by providing her with more parental care for her young. Extra-pair copulations may be a way to increase the likelihood of successful nesting if the first male is infertile, or may increase genetic diversity within the brood. Females may also mate with both males to avoid harassment or aggression.

Mating System: monogamous ; polyandrous

The breeding period of Gypaetus barbatus occurs from October until July. When breeding in the wild, males are an average of 8.9 years old, while females are about 7.7 years old. Nest building starts about 111 days before egg-laying. Female bearded vultures lay one to three eggs per breeding cycle, with usually only one egg surviving. In the Pyrenean population, there is extremely low breeding productivity with only an average of 0.4 fledglings per pair per year. Egg laying to fledgling lasts about 177 days. Incubation lasts approximately 54 days, starting when the first egg has been laid. There is a large variation in the first flight time of chicks, though most leave at about 4 months after birth, at which point they permanently leave the nest.

Breeding success of Gypaetus barbatus may be influenced by interactions between heterospecifics. Bearded vultures must actively defend their nests from kleptoparasitism, resulting in a negative energy cost and less energy to dedicate to young. Relocating nests to avoid attacks could lead to nesting at altitudes or locations with poor weather conditions, or in closer proximity to humans.

Breeding interval: Gypaetus barbatus breeds once yearly.

Breeding season: Breeding in Gypaetus barbatus occurs from October to July.

Range eggs per season: 1 to 3.

Range time to hatching: 53 to 60 days.

Average fledging age: 177 days.

Average time to independence: 4 months.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (female): 7.7 years.

Average age at sexual or reproductive maturity (male): 8.9 years.

Key Reproductive Features: iteroparous ; seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate); sexual ; oviparous

Breeding pairs of Gypaetus barbatus have several nests within a single territory, and rotate between them on a yearly basis. Males tend to more actively build nests and defend territories, while females allocate more time and energy tending to the nest. However, both males and females display territorial behavior around the nest against other bearded vultures and heterospecifics.

The breeding cycle is divided into three periods: pre-laying, incubation, and chick-rearing. Nest defense versus conspecifics occurs primarily during the pre-laying period. This may be due to intrasexual competition between males, or food competition. During this period, males attack invaders more frequently than females. This may be so females do not expend excess energy to have more available for mating. Females may also be able to assess the quality and breeding potential of a male through his ability to defend his territory and build a nest.

Unlike other vultures, bearded vultures deliver prey remains to their young without regurgitation. Mean hatching asynchrony between eggs in Gypaetus barbatus is estimated to be six days, longer than in any other raptor. The first chick is usually larger, more active, has a more erect posture, and can call more insistently than the second chick. Parental favoritism towards the first chick is common among bearded vultures, and parents may only feed the first born. The second chick often dies very quickly, and is frequently fed to the first chick for nourishment. The poor ability of the second chick to fend for itself may be an adaptation to a quick death if the first chick survives. At the same time, the second egg may act as insurance in case the first does not survive. Chicks are born semi-altricial and require post-hatching incubation and feeding. Both parents participate in feeding and rearing their chick.

Parental Investment: altricial ; male parental care ; female parental care ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Male, Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Male, Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Male, Female); pre-independence (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Male, Female)

license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
The Regents of the University of Michigan and its licensors
bibliographic citation
Tenenzapf, J. 2011. "Gypaetus barbatus" (On-line), Animal Diversity Web. Accessed April 27, 2013 at http://animaldiversity.ummz.umich.edu/site/accounts/information/Gypaetus_barbatus.html
author
Jonathan Tenenzapf, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Phil Myers, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor
editor
Rachelle Sterling, Special Projects
original
visit source
partner site
Animal Diversity Web

Status in Egypt

provided by Bibliotheca Alexandrina LifeDesk

Resident breeder, winter visitor? and regular passage visitor?

license
cc-by-nc-sa-3.0
copyright
Bibliotheca Alexandrina
author
BA Cultnat
provider
Bibliotheca Alexandrina

Brief Summary

provided by EOL authors
Bearded vultures are an extremely large old-world vulture with a rather wide distribution across Europe, Asia, and parts of Africa. The beard in the common name refers to the bristly feathers under the chin at the base of the bill. Unlike most other vultures, bearded vultures have fully feathered heads. This is probably because their diet consists more of bones rather than the flesh of carcasses. Bone-eating involves several interesting behaviors. These vultures often wait for other scavengers to pick carcasses clean before getting the fatty bones, which they prefer. To get at the bone marrow, they drop bones (as well as prey items like tortoises, smaller birds, and mammals) from great heights onto rocky areas called “ossuaries.” Though also referred to as Lammergeier, from the German word Lämmergeier, meaning "lamb-vulture" or “lamb-hawk,” they appear not to prey on lambs. It has been suggested that this species is the “eagle” that killed the greek playwright Aeschylus by dropping a tortoise on his bald head, mistaking it for a rock.
license
cc-by-3.0
copyright
Cyndy Sims Parr
original
visit source
partner site
EOL authors

Bearded vulture

provided by wikipedia EN

The bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus), also known as the lammergeier and ossifrage, is a bird of prey and the only member of the genus Gypaetus. This bird is also identified as Huma bird or Homa bird in Iran and north west Asia. Traditionally considered an Old World vulture, it actually forms a minor lineage of Accipitridae together with the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus), its closest living relative. It is not much more closely related to the Old World vultures proper than to, for example, hawks, and differs from the former by its feathered neck. Although dissimilar, the Egyptian and bearded vulture each have a lozenge-shaped tail—unusual among birds of prey.

The population of this species continues to decline. In 2004, it was classified by the IUCN Red List as least concern; since 2014, it is listed as near threatened.[1] The bearded vulture is the only known vertebrate whose diet consists almost exclusively (70 to 90 percent) of bone.[3] It lives and breeds on crags in high mountains in southern Europe, the Caucasus,[4][5][6] Africa,[7] the Indian subcontinent, and Tibet, laying one or two eggs in mid-winter that hatch at the beginning of spring. Populations are residents.

Distribution and habitat

The lammergeier is sparsely distributed across a vast, considerable range. It occurs in mountainous regions in the Pyrenees, the Alps, the Arabian Peninsula, the Caucasus region, the Zagros Mountains, the Alborz, the Koh-i-Baba in Bamyan, Afghanistan, the Altai Mountains, the Himalayas, Ladakh in northern India, western and central China.[1] In Africa, it is found in the Atlas Mountains, the Ethiopian Highlands and south from Sudan to northeastern Democratic Republic of the Congo, central Kenya and northern Tanzania. An isolated population inhabits the Drakensberg of South Africa.[8] In Israel it has been extirpated as a breeder since 1981, but young birds have been reported in 2000, 2004 and 2016.[9] It was eliminated from Romanian Carpathians at the beginning of the 20th century.[10]

This species is almost entirely associated with mountains and inselbergs with plentiful cliffs, crags, precipices, canyons and gorges. They are often found near alpine pastures and meadows, montane grassland and heath, steep-sided, rocky wadis, high steppe and are occasional around forests. They seem to prefer desolate, lightly-populated areas where predators who provide many bones, such as wolves and golden eagles, have healthy populations.

In Ethiopia, they are now common at refuse tips on the outskirts of small villages and towns. Although they occasionally descend to 300–600 m (980–1,970 ft), bearded vultures are rare below an elevation of 1,000 m (3,300 ft) and normally reside above 2,000 m (6,600 ft) in some parts of their range. They are typically found around or above the tree line which are often near the tops of the mountains, at up to 2,000 m (6,600 ft) in Europe, 4,500 m (14,800 ft) in Africa and 5,000 m (16,000 ft) in central Asia. In southern Armenia they have been found to breed below 1,000 m (3,300 ft) if cliff availability permits.[11] They even have been observed living at altitudes of 7,500 m (24,600 ft) on Mount Everest and been observed flying at a height of 24,000 ft (7,300 m).[4][5][6][8][12][13]

During 1970s and 1980s the population of the bearded vulture in southern Africa declined however their distribution remained constant. The bearded vulture population occupies the highlands of Lesotho, Free State, Eastern Cape and Maloti-Drakensberg mountains in KwaZulu-Natal. Adult bearded vultures utilise areas with higher altitudes, with steep slopes and sharp points and within areas that are situated closer to their nesting sites. Adult bearded vultures are more likely to fly below 200 m over Lesotho. Along the Drakensberg Escarpment from the area of Golden Gate Highlands National Park south into the northern part of the Eastern Cape there was the greatest densities of bearded vultures.

Abundance of bearded vultures is shown for eight regions within the species' range in southern Africa.[14] The total population of bearded vultures in southern Africa is calculated as being 408 adult birds and 224 young birds of all age classes therefore giving an estimate of about 632 birds.[14]

Though a rare visitor, bearded vultures occasionally travel to parts of the United Kingdom, with the first confirmed sighting taking place in 2016 in Wales and the Westcountry.[15] A series of sightings took place in 2020, when an individual bird was sighted separately over the Channel Island of Alderney after migrating north through France,[16] then in the Peak District,[17] Derbyshire, Cambridgeshire and Lincolnshire. The bird, nicknamed 'Vigo' by Tim Birch of the Derbyshire Wildlife Trust, is believed to have originated from the reintroduced population in the Alps.[18]

Description

 src=
A lammergeier in the Puga valley in Ladakh in the Indian Himalayas

This bird is 94–125 cm (37–49 in) long with a wingspan of 2.31–2.83 m (7.6–9.3 ft).[8] It weighs 4.5–7.8 kg (9.9–17.2 lb), with the nominate race averaging 6.21 kg (13.7 lb) and G. b. meridionalis of Africa averaging 5.7 kg (13 lb).[8] In Eurasia, vultures found around the Himalayas tend to be slightly larger than those from other mountain ranges.[8] Females are slightly larger than males.[8][19] It is essentially unmistakable with other vultures or indeed other birds in flight due to its long, narrow wings, with the wing chord measuring 71.5–91 cm (28.1–35.8 in), and long, wedge-shaped tail, which measures 42.7–52 cm (16.8–20.5 in) in length. The tail is longer than the width of the wing.[20] The tarsus is relatively small for the bird's size, at 8.8–10 cm (3.5–3.9 in). The proportions of the species have been compared to a falcon, scaled to an enormous size.[8]

Unlike most vultures, the bearded vulture does not have a bald head. This species is relatively small headed, although its neck is powerful and thick. It has a generally elongated, slender shape, sometimes appearing bulkier due to the often hunched back of these birds. The gait on the ground is waddling and the feet are large and powerful. The adult is mostly dark gray, rusty and whitish in color. It is grey-blue to grey-black above. The creamy-coloured forehead contrasts against a black band across the eyes and lores and bristles under the chin, which form a black beard that give the species its English name. Bearded vultures are variably orange or rust of plumage on their head, breast and leg feathers but this is actually cosmetic. This colouration may come from dust-bathing, rubbing mud on its body or from drinking in mineral-rich waters. The tail feathers and wings are gray. The juvenile bird is dark black-brown over most of the body, with a buff-brown breast and takes five years to reach full maturity. The bearded vulture is silent, apart from shrill whistles in their breeding displays and a falcon-like cheek-acheek call made around the nest.[8]

Physiology

The acid concentration of the bearded vulture stomach has been estimated to be of pH about 1. Large bones will be digested in about 24 hours, aided by slow mixing/churning of the stomach content. The high fat content of bone marrow makes the net energy value of bone almost as good as that of muscle, even if bone is less completely digested. A skeleton left on a mountain will dehydrate and become protected from bacterial degradation, and the bearded vulture can return to consume the remainder of a carcass even months after the soft parts have been consumed by other animals, larvae and bacteria.[21]

Behaviour

Diet and feeding

 src=
A flying bearded vulture in Gran Paradiso National Park, Italy
 src=
Bearded vulture on the rocks in Gran Paradiso National Park

Like other vultures, it is a scavenger, feeding mostly on the remains of dead animals. The bearded vulture diet comprises mammals (93%), birds (6%) and reptiles (1%), with medium-sized ungulates forming a large part of the diet.[22] Bearded vultures avoid remains of larger species (such as cows and horses) probably because of the variable cost/benefit ratios in handling efficiency, ingestion process and transportation of the remains.[22] It usually disdains the actual meat and lives on a diet that is typically 85–90% bone marrow. This is the only living bird species that specializes in feeding on marrow.[8] The bearded vulture can swallow whole or bite through brittle bones up to the size of a lamb's femur[23] and its powerful digestive system quickly dissolves even large pieces. The bearded vulture has learned to crack bones too large to be swallowed by carrying them in flight to a height of 50–150 m (160–490 ft) above the ground and then dropping them onto rocks below, which smashes them into smaller pieces and exposes the nutritious marrow.[8] They can fly with bones up to 10 cm (3.9 in) in diameter and weighing over 4 kg (8.8 lb), or nearly equal to their own weight.[8]

After dropping the large bones, the bearded vulture spirals or glides down to inspect them and may repeat the act if the bone is not sufficiently cracked.[8] This learned skill requires extensive practice by immature birds and takes up to seven years to master.[24] Its old name of ossifrage ("bone breaker") relates to this habit. Less frequently, these birds have been observed trying to break bones (usually of a medium size) by hammering them with their bill directly into rocks while perched.[8] During the breeding season they feed mainly on carrion. They prefer limbs of sheep and other small mammals and they carry the food to the nest, unlike other vultures which feed their young by regurgitation.[22]

Live prey is sometimes attacked by the bearded vulture, with perhaps greater regularity than any other vulture.[8] Among these, tortoises seem to be especially favored depending on their local abundance. Tortoises preyed on may be nearly as heavy as the preying vulture. To kill tortoises, bearded vultures fly with them to some height and drop them to crack open the bulky reptiles' hard shells. Golden eagles have been observed to kill tortoises in the same way.[8] Other live animals, up to nearly their own size, have been observed to be predaciously seized and dropped in flight. Among these are rock hyraxes, hares, marmots and, in one case, a 62 cm (24 in) long monitor lizard.[8][23] Larger animals have been known to be attacked by bearded vultures, including ibex, Capra goats, chamois and steenbok.[8] These animals have been killed by being surprised by the large birds and battered with wings until they fall off precipitous rocky edges to their deaths; although in some cases these may be accidental killings when both the vulture and the mammal surprise each other.[8] Many large animals killed by bearded vultures are unsteady young, or have appeared sickly or obviously injured.[8] Humans have been anecdotally reported to have been killed in the same way. This is unconfirmed, however, and if it does happen, most biologists who have studied the birds generally agree it would be accidental on the part of the vulture.[8] Occasionally smaller ground-dwelling birds, such as partridges and pigeons, have been reported eaten, possibly either as fresh carrion (which is usually ignored by these birds) or killed with beating wings by the vulture.[8] While foraging for bones or live prey while in flight, bearded vultures fly fairly low over the rocky ground, staying around 2 to 4 m (6.6 to 13.1 ft) high.[8] Occasionally, breeding pairs may forage and hunt together.[8] In the Ethiopian Highlands, bearded vultures have adapted to living largely off human refuse.[8]

Breeding

The bearded vulture occupies an enormous territory year-round. It may forage over 2 km2 (0.77 sq mi) each day. The breeding period is variable, being December through September in Eurasia, November to June in the Indian subcontinent, October to May in Ethiopia, throughout the year in eastern Africa and May to January in southern Africa.[8] Although generally solitary, the bond between a breeding pair is often considerably close. Biparental monogamous care occurs in the bearded vulture.[25] In a few cases, polyandry has been recorded in the species.[8] The territorial and breeding display between bearded vultures is often spectacular, involving the showing of talons, tumbling and spiralling while in solo flight. The large birds also regularly lock feet with each other and fall some distance through the sky with each other.[8] In Europe the breeding pairs of bearded vultures are estimated to be 120.[26] The mean productivity of the bearded vulture is 0.43±0.28 fledgings/breeding pair/year and the breeding success averaged 0.56±0.30 fledgings/pair with clutches/year.[27]

The nest is a massive pile of sticks, that goes from around 1 m (3.3 ft) across and 69 cm (27 in) deep when first constructed up to 2.5 m (8.2 ft) across and 1 m (3.3 ft) deep, with a covering of various animal matter from food, after repeated uses. The female usually lays a clutch of 1 to 2 eggs, though 3 have been recorded on rare occasions,[8] which are incubated for 53 to 60 days. After hatching, the young spend 100 to 130 days in the nest before fledging. The young may be dependent on the parents for up to 2 years, forcing the parents to nest in alternate years on a regular basis.[8] Typically, the bearded vulture nests in caves and on ledges and rock outcrops or caves on steep rock walls, so are very difficult for nest-predating mammals to access.[23] Wild bearded vultures have a mean lifespan of 21.4 years,[28] but have been observed to live for up to at least 45 years in captivity.[29]

Reintroduction in the Alps

The bearded vulture had a very poor reputation in early modern Europe, due in large part to tales of the birds stealing babies and livestock. The growing availability of firearms, combined with bounties offered for dead vultures, caused a sharp decline in the bearded vulture population around the Alps. By the beginning of the 20th century, they had completely disappeared from the Alpine regions.

Efforts to reintroduce the bearded vulture began in earnest in the 1970s, in the French Alps. Zoologists Paul Geroudet and Gilbert Amigues attempted to release vultures that had been captured in Afghanistan, but this approach proved unsuccessful: it was too difficult to capture the vultures in the first place, and too many died in transport on their way to France. A second attempt was made in 1987, using a technique called "hacking," by which young individuals (from 90 to 100 days) from zoological parks would be taken from the nest and placed in a protected area in the Alps. As they were still unable to fly at that age, the chicks were hand-fed by humans until the birds learned to fly and were able to reach food without human assistance. This method has proven more successful, with over 200 birds released in the Alps from 1987 to 2015, and a bearded vulture population has reestablished itself in the Alps.[30]

Threats and conservation status

 src=
Boy with live bearded vulture, Kabul, Afghanistan

The bearded vulture is one of the most endangered European bird species as over the last century its abundance and breeding range have drastically declined.[31] It naturally occurs at low densities, with anywhere from a dozen to 500 pairs now being found in each mountain range in Eurasia where the species breeds. The species is most common in Ethiopia, where an estimated 1,400 to 2,200 are believed to breed.[8] Relatively large, healthy numbers seem to occur in some parts of the Himalayas as well. It was largely wiped out in Europe, and by the beginning of the 20th century the only substantial population was in the Spanish and French Pyrenees. Since then, it has been successfully reintroduced to the Swiss and Italian Alps, from where they have spread over into France.[8] They have also declined somewhat in parts of Asia and Africa, though less severely than in Europe.[8]

Many raptor species were shielded from anthropogenic influences in previously underdeveloped areas therefore they are greatly impacted as the human population rises and infrastructure increases in underdeveloped areas. The increase in human population and infrastructure results in the declines of the bearded vulture populations today. The increase of infrastructure includes the building of houses, roads and power lines and a major issue with infrastructure and bird species populations is the collision with power lines.[32] The declines of the bearded vulture populations have been documented throughout their range resulting from a decrease in habitat space, fatal collisions with energy infrastructure, reduced food availability, poisons left out for carnivores and direct persecution in the form of Trophy Hunting.[33]

This species is currently listed as near threatened by the IUCN Red List last accessed on 1 October 2016, the population continues to decline as the distribution ranges of this species continues to decline due to human development.

Conservation action

There have been mitigation plans that have been established to reduce the population declines in bearded vulture populations. One of these plans includes the South African Biodiversity Management Plan that has been ratified by the government to stop the population decline in the short term. Actions that have been implemented include the mitigation of existing and proposed energy structures to prevent collision risks, the improved management of supplementary feeding sites as well to reduce the populations from being exposed to human persecution and poisoning accidents and to also have outreach programmes that are aimed as reducing poisoning incidents.[32]

Etymology

This species was first described by Carl Linnaeus in his 1758 10th edition of Systema Naturae as Vultur barbatus.[34] The present scientific name means "bearded vulture-eagle".

The name lammergeyer originates from German Lämmergeier, which means "lamb-vulture". The name stems from the belief that it attacked lambs.[35]

In culture

The bearded vulture is considered a threatened species in Iran. Iranian mythology considers the rare bearded vulture (Persian: هما, 'Homa') the symbol of luck and happiness. It was believed that if the shadow of a Homa fell on one, he would rise to sovereignty[36] and anyone shooting the bird would die in forty days. The habit of eating bones and apparently not killing living animals was noted by Sa'di in Gulistan, written in 1258, and Emperor Jahangir had a bird's crop examined in 1625 to find that it was filled with bones.[37]

The ancient Greeks used ornithomancers to guide their political decisions: bearded vultures, or ossifragae were one of the few species of birds that could yield valid signs to these soothsayers.

The Greek playwright Aeschylus was said to have been killed in 456 or 455 BC by a tortoise dropped by an eagle who mistook his bald head for a stone—if this incident did occur, the bearded vulture is a likely candidate for the "eagle".

In the Bible/Torah, the bearded vulture, as the ossifrage, is among the birds forbidden to be eaten (Leviticus 11:13).

More recently, in 1944, Shimon Peres (called Shimon Persky at the time) and David Ben-Gurion found a nest of bearded vultures in the Negev desert. The bird is called peres in Hebrew, and Shimon Persky liked it so much he adopted it as his surname.[38][39]

Robot bearded vultures appear in some science fiction literature, including the first volume of the Viriconium series by M. John Harrison and Feersum Endjinn by Iain M. Banks.

References

  1. ^ a b c BirdLife International (2017). "Gypaetus barbatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2017: e.T22695174A118590506. Retrieved 20 August 2020.
  2. ^ Gill F, D Donsker & P Rasmussen (Eds). 2021. IOC World Bird List (v11.1). doi:10.14344/IOC.ML.11.1
  3. ^ "Bearded vulture". wwf.panda.org.
  4. ^ a b Gavashelishvili, A.; McGrady, M. J. (2006). "Breeding site selection by bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) and Eurasian griffon (Gyps fulvus) in the Caucasus". Animal Conservation. 9 (2): 159–170. doi:10.1111/j.1469-1795.2005.00017.x.
  5. ^ a b Gavashelishvili, A.; McGrady, M. J. (2006). "Geographic information system-based modelling of vulture response to carcass appearance in the Caucasus". Journal of Zoology. 269 (3): 365–372. doi:10.1111/j.1469-7998.2006.00062.x.
  6. ^ a b Gavashelishvili, A.; McGrady, M. J. (2007). "Radio-satellite telemetry of a territorial Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus in the Caucasus". Vulture News. 56: 4–13.
  7. ^ Krüger, Sonja (19 April 2010). "Conservation of the Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus meridionalis". Africanraptors.org. Retrieved 8 August 2012.
  8. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af Ferguson-Lees, James; Christie, David A. (2001). Raptors of the World. Illustrated by Kim Franklin, David Mead, and Philip Burton. Houghton Mifflin. p. 417. ISBN 978-0-618-12762-7. Retrieved 29 May 2011.
  9. ^ Granit, Barak (31 December 2014). "News from the field - Daily Updates". פורטל צפרות.
  10. ^ "ZĂGAN Gypaetus barbatus". sor.ro.
  11. ^ "Bearded Vulture". Armenian Bird Census Council. 2017. Archived from the original on 29 May 2019. Retrieved 11 February 2017.
  12. ^ Bruce, Charles Granville (1923). The assault on Mount Everest 1922. London: Longmans, Green and Co.
  13. ^ Subedi, Tulsi Ram; Anadón, José D.; Baral, Hem Sagar; Virani, Munir Z.; Sah, Shahrul Anuar Mohd (2020). "Breeding habitat and nest-site selection of Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus in the Annapurna Himalaya Range of Nepal". Ibis. 162 (1): 153–161. doi:10.1111/ibi.12698.
  14. ^ a b Brown, C. J. (2010). "Distribution and status of the Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus in southern Africa". Ostrich. 63 (1): 1–9. doi:10.1080/00306525.1992.9634172.
  15. ^ Morris, Steven (16 May 2016). "Spectacular bearded vulture spotted for first time in UK". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  16. ^ Viles, Sam (16 August 2020). "Bearded Vulture: historic vagrancy and current European status". BirdGuides.com.
  17. ^ Birch, Simon (17 July 2020). "Birdwatchers flock to Peak District after rare sighting of bearded vulture in UK". The Guardian. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  18. ^ "Bearded vulture: Crowds flock to see rare bird over Lincolnshire fens". BBC News. 8 October 2020. Retrieved 11 October 2020.
  19. ^ Beaman, Mark; Madge, Steve (1999). The Handbook of Bird Identification for Europe and the Western Palearctic. Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0-691-02726-5.
  20. ^ Lee, W-S; Koo,T-H; Park, J-Y (2005). A Field Guide to the Birds of Korea. p. 98. ISBN 978-8995141533.
  21. ^ Houston, D.C.; Copsey, J.A. (1994). "Bone Digestion and Intestinal Morphology of the Bearded Vulture" (PDF). J. Raptor Res. 28 (2): 73–78. Retrieved 24 July 2011.
  22. ^ a b c Margalida, Antoni; Bertra, Joan; Heredia, Rafael (23 March 2009). "Diet and food preferences of the endangered Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus: a basis for their conservation". Ibis. 151 (2): 235–243. doi:10.1111/j.1474-919x.2008.00904.x.
  23. ^ a b c "Lammergeier Vulture". The Living Edens — Bhutan. PBS. Retrieved 30 May 2011.
  24. ^ "Lammergeier (video, facts and news)". Wildlife Finder. BBC. Retrieved 29 May 2011.
  25. ^ Margalida, Antoni; Bertran, Joan (2008). "Breeding behaviour of the Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus: minimal sexual differences in parental activities". Ibis. 142 (2): 225–234. doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.2000.tb04862.x.
  26. ^ Donazar, J. A.; Hiraldo, F.; Bustamante, J. (1993). "Factors Influencing Nest Site Selection, Breeding Density and Breeding Success in the Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus)". Journal of Applied Ecology. 30 (3): 504–514. doi:10.2307/2404190. hdl:10261/47110. JSTOR 2404190.
  27. ^ Margalida, Antoni; Garcia, Diego; Bertran, Joan; Heredia, Rafael (27 March 2003). "Breeding biology and success of the Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus in the eastern Pyrenees". Ibis. 145 (2): 244–252. doi:10.1046/j.1474-919X.2003.00148.x.
  28. ^ Brown, C.J. (March 1997). "Population dynamics of the bearded vulture Gypaetus barbatus in southern Africa". African Journal of Ecology. 35 (1): 53–63. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2028.1997.048-89048.x.
  29. ^ Antor, Ramón J.; Margalida, Antoni; Frey, Hans; Heredia, Rafael; Lorente, Luis; Sesé, José Antonio (July 2007). "First Breeding Age in Captive and Wild Bearded Vultures". Acta Ornithologica. 42 (1): 114–118. doi:10.3161/068.042.0106.
  30. ^ RÉINTRODUCTION. Le retour des gypaètes, Pro Gypaète. 31 May 2018
  31. ^ Bretagnolle, Vincent; Inchausti, Pablo; Seguin, Jean-François; Thibault, Jean-Claude (November 2004). "Evaluation of the extinction risk and of conservation alternatives for a very small insular population: the bearded vulture Gypaetus barbatus in Corsica". Biological Conservation. 120 (1): 19–30. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2004.01.023.
  32. ^ a b Kruger, Sonja; Reid, Timothy; Amar, Arjun (2014). "Differential Range Use between Age Classes of Southern African Bearded Vultures Gypaetus barbatus". PLOS ONE. 9 (12): e114920. Bibcode:2014PLoSO...9k4920K. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0114920. PMC 4281122. PMID 25551614.
  33. ^ "Lammergeier". howstuffworks.com. Discovery Communications. 22 April 2008. Archived from the original on 12 July 2011. Retrieved 29 May 2011.
  34. ^ Linnaeus, Carolus (1758). Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata (in Latin). v.1. Holmiae. (Laurentii Salvii). p. 87. V. albidus, dorso fusco, jugulo barbato, rostro incarnato, capite linea nigra cincto.
  35. ^ Everett, Mike (2008). "Lammergeiers and lambs". British Birds. 101 (4): 215.
  36. ^ Pollard, J. R. T. (2009). "The Lammergeyer Comparative Descriptions in Aristotle and Pliny". Greece and Rome. 16 (46): 23–28. doi:10.1017/s0017383500009311.
  37. ^ Phillott, D.C. (1906). "Note on the Huma or Lammergeyer". Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal. 2 (10): 532–533.
  38. ^ Marche, Stephen (13 June 2008). "Flight of Fancy". The New Republic. Retrieved 31 May 2011.
  39. ^ Leshem, Yossi (28 September 2016) Farewell Shimon Peres. birds.org.il

 title=
license
cc-by-sa-3.0
copyright
Wikipedia authors and editors
original
visit source
partner site
wikipedia EN

Bearded vulture: Brief Summary

provided by wikipedia EN

The bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus), also known as the lammergeier and ossifrage, is a bird of prey and the only member of the genus Gypaetus. This bird is also identified as Huma bird or Homa bird in Iran and north west Asia. Traditionally considered an Old World vulture, it actually forms a minor lineage of Accipitridae together with the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus), its closest living relative. It is not much more closely related to the Old World vultures proper than to, for example, hawks, and differs from the former by its feathered neck. Although dissimilar, the Egyptian and bearded vulture each have a lozenge-shaped tail—unusual among birds of prey.

The population of this species continues to decline. In 2004, it was classified by the IUCN Red List as least concern; since 2014, it is listed as near threatened. The bearded vulture is the only known vertebrate whose diet consists almost exclusively (70 to 90 percent) of bone. It lives and breeds on crags in high mountains in southern Europe, the Caucasus, Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and Tibet, laying one or two eggs in mid-winter that hatch at the beginning of spring. Populations are residents.

license
cc-by-sa-3.0
copyright
Wikipedia authors and editors
original
visit source
partner site
wikipedia EN