Bearded Vulture

Gypaetus barbatus


Bearded vultures are scavengers with a difference: they like to feast on the bones left behind by others. Highly acidic gastric juices enable the vultures to easily digest their tough meals. And if a bone is ever too big, they smash it on the rocks by dropping it mid-flight.


  • Origin

    Northwestern, eastern and southern Africa; southwestern, southern and central Europe (the Alps); Asia

  • Habitat

    Mountains and plateaus between 300 and 4,500 metres above sea level

  • Diet

    Bearded vultures eat bones and carrion.

  • Status

    near threatened; decreasing

  • Size

    94 – 120 cm

  • Weight

    approx. 5 kg

  • Breeding period

    55 days

  • Achievable age

    up to 40 years in the wild, up to 50 years in human care

Threat Categories of IUCN

Did you know that ...

...bearded vultures have a wingspan of up to 2.9 metres,
...they can glide for hours on thermal air currents without needing to beat their wings
...and like other scavengers, bearded vultures are nature’s own waste-disposal team and serve an important
function for the local ecosystem?

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