Bearded Vulture
Bearded Vulture, Gypaetus barbatus
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Clade: Inopinaves
Clade: Afroaves
Superorder: Accipitrimorphae
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Subfamily: Gypaetinae
Genus: Gypaetus
Storr, 1784
Species: G. barbatus
Binomial name
Gypaetus barbatus
Linnaeus, 1758

G. b. barbatus
G. b. meridionalis [2]

Range of G. barbatus

Other names

Lammergeier or Lammergeyer.


Length is 100–115 centimetres (39–45 in).[3] Huge and long-winged. In strong light, when upperparts look pale and merge with mountainside, often best spotted by dark shadowing moving over the ground [4].

Adult: underbelly light, whitish with a varying degree of buffish-yellow or often rather deep rufous-buff tinge (acquired through sand-bathing!), contrasting with its dark underwing [4]. In good light, lesser and median under-wing-coverts are darkest, being jet-black. Upperparts are lead-grey with pale feather shafts [4].

Females are larger than males [5].

Juvenile: Body is dull grey with contrasting dark grey head, neck and upper breast (like that of a Hooded Crow). Upperparts are not uniformly dark with lighter shafts (as on the adult birds) but are variegated; mantle, rump and some wing-coverts light [4].

Immature: Adult pattern is attained in about five years, subadults keeping the dark head rather long [4].

Similar species



It can eat parts of the carcass that other birds cannot digest, including bones, which it smashes by dropping them onto rocks from the air [5]. The food it always scavenges always contains bones and it will discard the flesh, preferring to extract the marrow [6]. It also drops live tortoises on rocks [6].


Usually silent; but during aerial displays at breeding sites, utters shrill, loud whistling notes or a trill [4].


Its nest is a platform of twigs with central hollow lined with grass, hair, skin, and bones, in a cave or on a cliff ledge [5].


Mountainous areas and high steppes between 3,300-14,500 ft (1,000-4,500m) [6]. Nonmigrant [6].


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2009). Gypaetus barbatus. In: IUCN 2009. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 7 August 2011.
  2. ^ "Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus)". The Internet Bird Collection. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  3. ^ Arlott, Norman (2009). A Field Guide to the Birds of the Palearctic Non-Passerines. Harper Collins Publishers Ltd. ISBN 9780007155651. 
  4. ^ a b c d e f Mullarney, Killian; Lars Svensson, Dan Zetterström and Peter J. Grant (1999). Birds of Europe. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0691050538.  Cite uses deprecated parameter |coauthor= (help)
  5. ^ a b c Harrison, Colin and Greensmith, Alan (1993). Birds of the World. Dorling Kindersley Inc. ISBN 1564582965. 
  6. ^ a b c d France, Peter; et al. (2007). Bird: The Definitive Visual Guide. Dorling Kindersley Inc. ISBN 1564582957. 

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