Bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus)

Common name in other languages:

Dutch Lammergier; German Bartgeier; French Gypaète Barbu; Spanish Quebrantahuesos; Portuguese Brita-ossos; Swedish Skäggam

Size: 100-115 cm

Weight: 4,5-7,1 kg

Wingspan: 250-285 cm

Life expectancy: up to 40 years in captivity

 

Features: The Bearded vulture is an unmistakable bird, with black ‘sideburns’, red rings around the eyes and a long wedge-shaped tail. Bearded vultures have black facial markings and black wings, the rest of the head, neck and body are a rich rusty orange. This is because Bearded vultures in the wild rub themselves with ferric oxides. Captive born birds are therefore not rusty but whit in colour. Juvenile bearded vultures are completely dark, and undergo multiple moultings.

 

Distribution: Two hundred years ago, Bearded vultures were found in all Southern European mountain areas, from Western Spain to the Balkans. A decrease of food availability (chamois, roe deer, ibex), changes in animal husbandry and a bad reputation caused a steady population decrease. The name ‘lammergeier’ (or ‘quebrantahuesos’ in Spanish, which means bone breaker) reveals it: people thought that the bird killed lambs and sometimes even small children. Bearded vultures were hunted down fanatically, and in the Alpine region there was even a bounty for each animal killed. The last living specimen in this area was shot in 1913.

 

Currently, Bearded vultures are the rarest vultures in Europe, only occurring in the Pyrenees (around 100 breeding pairs), Corsica (8 pairs), Crete (9-10 breeding pairs), and a reintroduced population in in the Alps (20 breeding pairs). The total population in Europe (including Turkey and Russia) is estimated at 600 to 1000 pairs.

 

Behaviour: Unlike the myth, Bearded vultures do not hunt live prey, and even avoid meat. The diet of the Bearded vulture consists for 80 to 90% of the bleached carcass bones. The bird is capable of  swallowing and digesting bones the size of a sheep’s vertebrae. If bones are too big, they are dropped onto rocks from a height of up to 100 meters, to shatter them. This unique eating habit makes Bearded vultures an essential part of the ecosystem.

 

Bearded vultures live in mountainous areas, often above the tree line. Because of the many animals that do not survive the winter, carcass supply is greatest in winter. Therefore, this is the time when Bearded vultures breed, and chicks hatch in February. Bearded vultures lay two eggs, but only the strongest young survives.

 

Tue

13

Jul

2021

Young Bearded Vulture Bavaria and Wally successfully take their first flight into the Bavarian Alps

Bavaria after her first flight © Richard Straub/ LBV
Bavaria after her first flight © Richard Straub/ LBV
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Sat

10

Jul

2021

Grands Causses welcomes one more Bearded Vulture as part of the LIFE GypConnect reintroduction project

Left: Peyre as a chick  © VCF / Right: Peyre ready for release with the mayor © LPO Grands Causses
Left: Peyre as a chick © VCF / Right: Peyre ready for release with the mayor © LPO Grands Causses
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Thu

08

Jul

2021

The spread of misinformation as a new challenge for vulture conservation

Griffon Vultures feeding on a carcass © Bruno Berthemy
Griffon Vultures feeding on a carcass © Bruno Berthemy
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Tue

06

Jul

2021

Wildlife Crime Academy: using CSI and forensic science to solve wildlife crimes across 9 countries

© Wildlife Crime Academy/ Vulture Conservation Foundation
© Wildlife Crime Academy/ Vulture Conservation Foundation
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Tue

29

Jun

2021

Donna Elvira and BelArosa recently became the 50th and 51st Bearded Vultures reintroduced in the Swiss Alps 

Donna Elvira © Hansruedi Weyrich
Donna Elvira © Hansruedi Weyrich
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Thu

17

Jun

2021

Tinença de Benifassà natural park welcomed three new Bearded Vultures

Close-up of one of the Bearded Vultures © Generalitat of Valencia
Close-up of one of the Bearded Vultures © Generalitat of Valencia
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Thu

10

Jun

2021

Bearded Vultures "Bavaria" and "Wally" successfully released in the Berchtesgaden National Park in Germany

Presenting one of the Bearded Vultures © Hansruedi Weyrich
Presenting one of the Bearded Vultures © Hansruedi Weyrich
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Wed

09

Jun

2021

Why are we releasing Bearded Vultures in Germany for the first time ever tomorrow?

BG1113 before and after © Pakillo Rodriguez/ VCF
BG1113 before and after © Pakillo Rodriguez/ VCF
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Sat

05

Jun

2021

The first Bearded Vultures were reintroduced in the Swiss Alps 30 years ago today

Releasing Bearded Vultures in the Swiss National Park © SNP
Releasing Bearded Vultures in the Swiss National Park © SNP
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Thu

03

Jun

2021

Necropsy results shed light on the first Bearded Vulture fatality caused by wind turbine collision in Europe

 The carcass of Angèle during the necropsy © Zoological Museum Netherlands
The carcass of Angèle during the necropsy © Zoological Museum Netherlands
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Mon

31

May

2021

A limited-edition Bearded Vulture themed water bottle by Quechua supports the species' conservation

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Sat

29

May

2021

Two more captive-bred Bearded Vultures released in Vercors as part of our reintroduction project

Releasing the Bearded Vultures in Vercors © Alain Herrault
Releasing the Bearded Vultures in Vercors © Alain Herrault
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Fri

28

May

2021

Corsica welcomes two more captive-bred Bearded Vultures to restock the wild population

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Thu

27

May

2021

Late hatching of Bearded Vulture baby brings this captive breeding season to a close

The second-to-last Bearded Vulture chick of the 2020/21 breeding season © Puy du Fou
The second-to-last Bearded Vulture chick of the 2020/21 breeding season © Puy du Fou
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Wed

26

May

2021

First in Europe: reintroduced Bearded Vulture that wandered in the Netherlands killed by wind farm

Our president holding the carcass of Angèle © Vulture Conservation Foundation
Our president holding the carcass of Angèle © Vulture Conservation Foundation
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Tue

18

May

2021

Lead ammunition is a problem for eagles and vultures

Golden Eagle suffering from lead poisoning © Parco Nazionale dello Stelvio
Golden Eagle suffering from lead poisoning © Parco Nazionale dello Stelvio
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Fri

14

May

2021

Habitat modelling helps assess risk of wind farms for Bearded Vultures in the Alps

Bearded Vulture in flight © Massimo Prati
Bearded Vulture in flight © Massimo Prati
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Thu

13

May

2021

Andalusian authorities identify suspect in regards to the fatal poisoning of three Bearded Vultures thanks to an appropriate investigative response

One of the three Bearded Vulture carcasses recently poisoned in Andalusia © Junta de Andalucía
One of the three Bearded Vulture carcasses recently poisoned in Andalusia © Junta de Andalucía
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Wed

12

May

2021

Reintroduced Bearded Vulture Eglazine crosses France and embarks on an adventure in the Netherlands

Bearded Vulture Eglazine photographed in the Netherlands © Hans Pohlmann
Bearded Vulture Eglazine photographed in the Netherlands © Hans Pohlmann
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Fri

07

May

2021

Check out the newly launched website of the BalkanDetox LIFE project

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Tue

04

May

2021

Save the date: GypConnect Seminar and Annual Bearded Vulture Meeting 2021

Bearded Vulture/illustrative © Bruno Berthemy
Bearded Vulture/illustrative © Bruno Berthemy
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Mon

26

Apr

2021

Launch of new Bearded Vulture release season: Two young and captive-bred brothers reintroduced in the Grands Causses, France

Bearded Vulture Plumet © LPO Grands Causses
Bearded Vulture Plumet © LPO Grands Causses
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Fri

23

Apr

2021

Bearded Vulture chick hatches and doing well after three facilities work together to secure the future of the egg produced

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Mon

19

Apr

2021

Most recent GPS movements of 58 Bearded Vultures across seven important European regions (March 2021)

Bearded Vulture in flight © Nello Petito
Bearded Vulture in flight © Nello Petito
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Thu

15

Apr

2021

Alpine Bearded Vultures pairs have already produced several chicks during this breeding season

Bearded Vultures in flight © Hansruedi Weyrich
Bearded Vultures in flight © Hansruedi Weyrich
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Mon

12

Apr

2021

The ninth edition of La Plume du Life, the LIFE GYPCONNECT's newsletter, released

Ophrys who was released in 2020 © Régis Descamps
Ophrys who was released in 2020 © Régis Descamps
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Thu

08

Apr

2021

Bearded Vulture Flamadel returns home after 15 months of receiving challenging veterinary treatment

Read More

Mon

05

Apr

2021

New issue of the Bulletin "infoGIPETO" now available

Bearded Vulture in flight/illustrative © Nello Petito
Bearded Vulture in flight/illustrative © Nello Petito
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Tue

30

Mar

2021

Bearded Vulture chick travels to a new facility to be adopted by experienced foster parents

Bearded Vulture chick arrived at the zoo © Barbara Feldmann/ Schönbrunn Zoo
Bearded Vulture chick arrived at the zoo © Barbara Feldmann/ Schönbrunn Zoo
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Fri

26

Mar

2021

Achieving a world-record: Guadalentín centre in Andalusia hatched the highest-ever number of Bearded Vulture chicks produced in a single breeding season

Read More

Wed

17

Mar

2021

One more Bearded Vulture translocated as part of the newest reintroduction project in Maestrazgo

Releasing the Bearded Vulture (c) Generalitat de Catalunya
Releasing the Bearded Vulture (c) Generalitat de Catalunya
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Thu

11

Mar

2021

Bearded Vulture chicks keep on hatching in captivity

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Wed

03

Mar

2021

Bearded Vulture breeding progress in Savoie is heading towards a record-high season!

Bearded Vulture in flight  © Hansruedi Weyrich
Bearded Vulture in flight © Hansruedi Weyrich
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Thu

25

Feb

2021

For the first time, we are following the GPS movements of a juvenile wild-hatched Bearded Vulture from Italy

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Thu

18

Feb

2021

Reintroduced in France, electrocuted in Italy: Young Bearded Vulture Palo-Pala meets tragic end

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Wed

17

Feb

2021

WATCH: Human keepers and Bearded Vulture mum rear newly hatched captive-bred chick in Andalusia

The Bearded Vulture chick was nicknamed 'Attenborough' in honour of the British naturalist © Pakillo Rodríguez
The Bearded Vulture chick was nicknamed 'Attenborough' in honour of the British naturalist © Pakillo Rodríguez
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Sat

13

Feb

2021

Most recent GPS movements of 58 Bearded Vultures across seven important European regions

Bearded Vulture in flight (c) Bruno Berthemy
Bearded Vulture in flight (c) Bruno Berthemy
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Thu

11

Feb

2021

Bearded Vultures in the Alps are busy with the new breeding season

Bearded Vultures in flight (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
Bearded Vultures in flight (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
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Wed

10

Feb

2021

Prepare for Cuteness Overload: Introducing Europe's first Bearded Vulture siblings of this breeding season

Hand-rearing the second chick in the first few days © Sigrid Kubka-Frey
Hand-rearing the second chick in the first few days © Sigrid Kubka-Frey
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Fri

29

Jan

2021

Meet Europe's first Bearded Vulture chick of 2021

The first Bearded Vulture chick that hatched Europe in 2021 © Hans Frey
The first Bearded Vulture chick that hatched Europe in 2021 © Hans Frey
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Fri

22

Jan

2021

How do we boost Bearded Vulture breeding success in captivity to support conservation projects?

Marie Antoinette lays her third egg (c) VCF
Marie Antoinette lays her third egg (c) VCF
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Wed

20

Jan

2021

Wandering Bearded Vulture Pierro continues exploring unusual regions

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Thu

14

Jan

2021

A Swiss Bearded Vulture resurfaced in Baronnies, France, after nearly two years since last observation

Bearded Vulture Mison recently photographed in Baronnies © G.Foilleret
Bearded Vulture Mison recently photographed in Baronnies © G.Foilleret
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Sun

10

Jan

2021

Bearded Vultures return to Granada, Andalusia, as a breeding species after half a century since their extinction

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Fri

01

Jan

2021

Bearded Vulture "Vigo" is actually "Flysch" from Haute Savoie, and the full history of the bird now published in British Birds

The Bearded Vulture photographed at Howden Moors, UK  © Will Bowell
The Bearded Vulture photographed at Howden Moors, UK © Will Bowell
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Thu

31

Dec

2020

2021 — Together let's work towards a brighter future for the world and vultures

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Tue

29

Dec

2020

Overview of Bearded Vulture conservation in 2020

Releasing Bearded Vultures in the Swiss Alps (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
Releasing Bearded Vultures in the Swiss Alps (c) Hansruedi Weyrich
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Fri

25

Dec

2020

Happy Holidays from the Vulture Conservation Foundation

https://www.4vultures.org/happy-holidays-from-the-vcf-2020/
https://www.4vultures.org/happy-holidays-from-the-vcf-2020/
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Tue

22

Dec

2020

Preliminary results from the 2020 International Observation Days for the Bearded Vulture

Bearded Vulture and ibex in Wallis, Switzerland during the IOD 2020 (c) Massimo Prati
Bearded Vulture and ibex in Wallis, Switzerland during the IOD 2020 (c) Massimo Prati
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Sun

20

Dec

2020

GPS and genetic monitoring: Evaluating the connectivity of Bearded Vulture populations between different massifs in France

Bearded Vulture in flight (c) Bruno Berthemy
Bearded Vulture in flight (c) Bruno Berthemy
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Sat

19

Dec

2020

VCF's Alex Llopis receives Tom Cade Award!

Alex Llopis feeding a Bearded Vulture chick © Hansruedi Weyrich
Alex Llopis feeding a Bearded Vulture chick © Hansruedi Weyrich
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Wed

16

Dec

2020

Farewell Dama: Bearded Vulture breeding female that produced the second-highest number of chicks in captivity dies at 32 years old

The beautiful Bearded Vulture Dama (c) VCF
The beautiful Bearded Vulture Dama (c) VCF
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Tue

15

Dec

2020

Meet the Bearded Vultures that flew above seas and travelled vast distances in 2020

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Mon

14

Dec

2020

The eighth edition of La Plume du Life, the LIFE GYPCONNECT's newsletter, released

Young Bearded Vulture in flight (c) Franziska Loercher
Young Bearded Vulture in flight (c) Franziska Loercher
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Fri

11

Dec

2020

Live Meeting: Let's talk vultures!

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Thu

10

Dec

2020

European vulture comeback boosted by new agreement

Cinereous and Griffon vultures (c) Pilar Oliva
Cinereous and Griffon vultures (c) Pilar Oliva
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Tue

08

Dec

2020

Research review: Study demonstrates the high risk of lead poisoning in birds of prey, especially Griffon Vultures, in Spain

 (Descalzo et al., 2020)
(Descalzo et al., 2020)
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Fri

04

Dec

2020

The Bearded Vulture egg-laying season in captivity started very early on this time!

Bearded Vulture in Armenia incubating the eggs
Bearded Vulture in Armenia incubating the eggs
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Wed

02

Dec

2020

A successful Kick-off Meeting of the newly launched LIFE project BalkanDetox LIFE

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Tue

01

Dec

2020

Kajazo - a human imprinted Bearded Vulture male 'pairs' with his human keeper to become a foster parent to a chick

Kajazo and Alex © Vulture Conservation Foundation
Kajazo and Alex © Vulture Conservation Foundation
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Fri

27

Nov

2020

Arrival of three Griffon Vultures to the most important Bearded Vulture Captive Breeding Centre to help monitor the West Nile Virus threat

One of the Griffon Vultures that arrived at Guadalentín (left) and a Bearded Vulture resident of the Centre (c) Junta de Andalucía
One of the Griffon Vultures that arrived at Guadalentín (left) and a Bearded Vulture resident of the Centre (c) Junta de Andalucía
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Wed

25

Nov

2020

Call for testimony for Dolomie — the reintroduced Bearded Vulture illegally shot and killed in France

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Sat

21

Nov

2020

Bearded Vulture pair built nest in Granada Province for the first time since the reintroduction of the species in Andalusia

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Sat

21

Nov

2020

Released Bearded Vulture Sureau that can no longer fly due to injury has a new mission in life

Transferring Sureau (c) Pascal Orabi
Transferring Sureau (c) Pascal Orabi
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Fri

20

Nov

2020

Kick-off meeting of the BalkanDetox LIFE project

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Wed

18

Nov

2020

Research Review: Risk of exposure to diclofenac and other NSAIDs for vultures in Iberia and update on the situation in South Asia

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Tue

17

Nov

2020

Pyrenees Bearded Vulture Peraire now flies in Maestrazgo where the species is being reintroduced

(c) GVA Agroambient
(c) GVA Agroambient
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Sun

15

Nov

2020

Bearded Vulture reintroduction in Andalusia: a breakup led to two new pair formations, and 2020 welcomes a new territorial pair!

Pair Encina and Bigup
Pair Encina and Bigup
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Sat

14

Nov

2020

Please participate in this survey if you observed or attempted to observe Bearded Vulture "Vigo" in the UK

One of the last photos of Bearded Vulture "Vigo" taken in the UK (c) Peter Alan Coe
One of the last photos of Bearded Vulture "Vigo" taken in the UK (c) Peter Alan Coe
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Tue

10

Nov

2020

Attempting three new Bearded Vulture pair bondings in the largest specialized breeding centre of the species

The new Bearded Vulture pairings in Guadalentin (c) Junta de Andalucía
The new Bearded Vulture pairings in Guadalentin (c) Junta de Andalucía
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Sat

07

Nov

2020

 IUCN Vulture Specialist Group's Guide for attaching harness tracking devices to vultures and condors 

Southern African Bearded Vulture with tag in flight (c) Shane Elliott
Southern African Bearded Vulture with tag in flight (c) Shane Elliott
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Fri

06

Nov

2020

Farmer who used poison baits in Andalusia, killing two Bearded Vultures, CONVICTED at last!

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Wed

04

Nov

2020

Celebrating the ten-year anniversary of the first Griffon Vulture releases in the Balkan Mountains, Bulgaria, to reintroduce the species

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Sat

31

Oct

2020

Programme of Bearded Vulture Technical Webinar published!

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Fri

30

Oct

2020

Possible observation of Bearded Vulture "Vigo" in France

Possible observation of "Vigo" in France  © Bastien Merlanchon
Possible observation of "Vigo" in France © Bastien Merlanchon
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Thu

29

Oct

2020

BalkanDetox LIFE: New project combats illegal wildlife poisoning across Balkan countries

Poisoned Cinereous and Egyptian Vulture in Bulgaria (c) Hristo Peshev/ FWFF
Poisoned Cinereous and Egyptian Vulture in Bulgaria (c) Hristo Peshev/ FWFF
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Mon

26

Oct

2020

Latest newsletter of the IUCN's Vulture Specialist Group (October 2020)

Griffon Vulture and Cinereous Vultures (c) Bruno Berthemy
Griffon Vulture and Cinereous Vultures (c) Bruno Berthemy
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Fri

23

Oct

2020

Bearded Vulture Technical Webinar: Reviewing conservation and research projects across three continents

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Wed

21

Oct

2020

Watch: Achievements of the LIFE GypConnect project

Bearded Vulture released as part of LIFE GypConnect (c) VCF
Bearded Vulture released as part of LIFE GypConnect (c) VCF
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Wed

14

Oct

2020

Carcass filled with lead shot pellets: Young Bearded Vulture reintroduced this summer in the Grands Causses (France) illegally shot and killed

Finding the dead body of Bearded Vulture Dolomie (c) LPO
Finding the dead body of Bearded Vulture Dolomie (c) LPO
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Tue

13

Oct

2020

Bearded vulture in the UK: Speculations are over as genetic analysis reveals origin and sex

Bearded Vulture "Vigo" © Ashley James
Bearded Vulture "Vigo" © Ashley James
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Fri

09

Oct

2020

Bearded Vulture resurfaces in Lincolnshire, and we are closer to revealing the bird's identity

"Vigo" in flight © Will Bowell
"Vigo" in flight © Will Bowell
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Thu

08

Oct

2020

First study on the conservation status of vultures and raptors in Morocco reveals mortality hotspots

Griffon and Egyptian Vulture/illustrative (c) Atanas Delchev
Griffon and Egyptian Vulture/illustrative (c) Atanas Delchev
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Wed

07

Oct

2020

Pyrenean Bearded Vulture rescued three times and unable to return to the wild becomes part of the captive-breeding programme

The Bearded Vulture in his new home (c) VCF
The Bearded Vulture in his new home (c) VCF
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Tue

06

Oct

2020

Plumage, bleached feathers and moulting: How we can tell apart Bearded Vultures in the wild

Johannes © Hansruedi Weyrich
Johannes © Hansruedi Weyrich
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Sun

04

Oct

2020

Pair in Austria signals the start of the new Bearded Vulture breeding season in captivity

BG175 (female) on the left and BG 108 (male) on the right (c) Hans Frey
BG175 (female) on the left and BG 108 (male) on the right (c) Hans Frey
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Tue

29

Sep

2020

The International Bearded Vulture Monitoring Network 2019 Annual Report

One of the Bearded Vultures released in 2019 (c) Espai Ambiental
One of the Bearded Vultures released in 2019 (c) Espai Ambiental
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Fri

25

Sep

2020

The latest movements of 58 wild Bearded Vultures across seven important European regions

Bearded Vulture in flight (c) Bruno Berthemy
Bearded Vulture in flight (c) Bruno Berthemy
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Wed

23

Sep

2020

Bearded Vulture “Vigo” left Derbyshire and is heading south — where to now?

Bearded Vulture Vigo (c) Indy Green
Bearded Vulture Vigo (c) Indy Green
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Tue

22

Sep

2020

How many Bearded Vultures are currently present in Vercors where the species is being reintroduced?

 Bearded Vulture Kobalann (c) Olivier Teilhard
Bearded Vulture Kobalann (c) Olivier Teilhard
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Sat

19

Sep

2020

Upcoming Virtual Vulture Trivia Quizzes — for adults and families

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Wed

16

Sep

2020

Vulture watching: Tarifa during bird migration - the European region where you might see six vulture species!

Rüppell's Vulture in Tarifa (c) Javi Elorriaga/ Birding the Strait
Rüppell's Vulture in Tarifa (c) Javi Elorriaga/ Birding the Strait
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Sun

13

Sep

2020

International Observation Days: Volunteers needed to help count Bearded Vultures in Europe on Saturday 3 October 2020

Bearded Vulture in flight (c) Bruno Berthemy
Bearded Vulture in flight (c) Bruno Berthemy
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Fri

11

Sep

2020

Research review: study finds no clear evidence that vultures spread microorganisms to humans and other species, but more likely reduce disease transmission

Griffon Vultures/illustrative (c) Pilar Oliva
Griffon Vultures/illustrative (c) Pilar Oliva
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Sun

06

Sep

2020

2020 Annual Bearded Vulture Meeting cancelled – but join us for a webinar on Bearded Vultures on November 13th!

Bearded Vulture in flight (c) Bruno Berthemy
Bearded Vulture in flight (c) Bruno Berthemy
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Sat

05

Sep

2020

Why we need to protect vultures

Griffon Vulture (c) Pilar Oliva
Griffon Vulture (c) Pilar Oliva
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Fri

04

Sep

2020

West Nile Virus poses a threat to Bearded Vultures in captivity – and to humans too

Captive Bearded Vulture in Guadalentín/ illustrative (c) Junta de Andalucía
Captive Bearded Vulture in Guadalentín/ illustrative (c) Junta de Andalucía
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Wed

02

Sep

2020

Critical EU vote this Thursday to ban lead shot in wetlands – and that matters to vultures too!

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Mon

31

Aug

2020

A Bearded Vulture released in Maestrazgo this year was found dead

The carcass of Cocó
The carcass of Cocó
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Sat

29

Aug

2020

Celebrate the International Vulture Awareness Day on 5 September with us!

European vulture species (c) Bruno Berhtemy
European vulture species (c) Bruno Berhtemy
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