Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus)

Immature Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) in Canton of Valais, Switzerland. November 2016. Not baited. Not called in.

Immature Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) in Canton of Valais, Switzerland. November 2016. Not baited. Not called in.

Part of the Vultures family, the Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) is an incredible bird in many ways. With a wingspan of almost 3 meters, it soars effortlessly along the cliffs of its vast territory (usually between 350 and 500 sqkm depending on the abundance of food) looking for carcasses. Its unique diet consists of bones, and the tendons, meat and marrow coming with it. When a bone is too loo long to swallow whole, the Bearded Vulture carries it in flight and then drops it onto rocks below to smash it in smaller pieces. 

Juveniles have a black head, and it is progressively getting clear orange  for the adults. That is why individuals of 3 or 4 years have a head's plumage between black and orange, as you can see with this 3 year old individual on the picture above.

Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) in Canton de Vaud, Switzerland. October 2016. Not baited. Not called in.

Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) in Canton de Vaud, Switzerland. October 2016. Not baited. Not called in.

You often get to see a Bearded Vulture's shadow before seeing the actual bird. This unmistakable raptor can sometimes be very well camouflaged in its environment as you can see on the picture above.

Love Nature.
Jonathan