Lammergeier in side-face


The Lammergeier, Lammergeyer, or Bearded Vulture, Gypaetus barbatus ("Bearded Vulture-Eagle"), is the only member of the genus Gypaetus.

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. They are not much more closely related to the Old World vultures proper than to, for example, hawks, and differ from the former by their feathered neck. Although quite dissimilar, Egyptian and Bearded Vulture both have a lozenge-shaped tail that is unusual among birds of prey.

It breeds on crags in high mountains in southern Europe, North Africa, Southern Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, and Tibet, laying one or two eggs in mid-winter which hatch at the beginning of spring. Populations are resident.

The adult has a buff-yellow body and head, the latter with the black moustaches which give this species its alternative name. It may rub mud over its chin, breast and leg feathers, giving these areas a rust-coloured appearance. The tail feathers and wings are grey. The juvenile bird is dark all over, and takes five years to reach full maturity. The Lammergeier is silent, apart from shrill whistles at the breeding crags, and can live up to 40 years in captivity.

The habitat is exclusively mountainous terrain (500–4,000 m). An individual has been seen at 7,300 m. The bird breeds from mid-December to mid-February, laying 1 to 2 eggs which hatch between 53 and 58 days. After hatching the young spend 106 to 130 days in the nest before fledging. Typically, the Lammergeier nests in caves and on ledges and rock outcrops.

Source: - 20.11.08


With a wingspan of about 270 cm the Lammergeier is one of the biggest birds of the world, which are able to fly.

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