The Coolest Vulture

Hey everyone, what’s going on? To make up for last week, this week’s kind of like a double feature.

Kicking it off is this big beautiful bird here.

bv1
Image By: Gerhard Gellinger

This is a bearded vulture. They’re a really big bird of prey, super big. Like… a wingspan of 2 and a half metres big. That wingspan is bigger than most people are!

Look at this guy.

bv2Image By: Susanne Nilsson

Bearded vultures get lumped into the family of old world vultures, most of which are like those big ugly birds with the gross necks you see in the cartoons. Bearded vultures are pretty different though, so they get moved into a smaller subfamily from the ugly ones, a subfamily with only two other members.

They like to hang around in mountain regions in Africa, Europe and Asia, which you’d think would keep them out of conflict with humans, but they still catch some heat sometimes. People in Europe hated them so much that at the start of the last century, they destroyed the entire population in the Alps. It wasn’t until a few decades ago they felt bad about it and started reintroducing the birds to the Alps.

bv3Image By: Aangelo

The thing that really makes the bearded vulture stand out is its unique diet. They eat bones. Supposedly, they’ve got acidic tummies that can digest a big bone in 24 hours and bone marrow is pretty much just as good as the fleshy bits.

I reckon that diet is super efficient, since everyone else is leaving that part behind. They don’t have to fight for food with other carnivores because no one else is eating what these guys eat.

Even if a bone’s too big to eat, a bearded vulture will just pick it up and drop from really high up. Letting gravity do all the work. It seems they’re just really smart when it comes to eating.

bv4Image By: Francesco Veronesi

The orange or red that you see on their beards isn’t the natural colour of their feathers, they dye their feathers by rubbing dirt through them. Some people reckon they do it to make themselves look cool and tough, but I don’t know. Maybe they’re just having a normal dust bath and just end up turning orange over time. They can live for decades, so there’s a lot of time to build up dirt.

 

Well that’s my take on the bearded vulture. Do you know any cool facts about these guys? Do you think they look majestic, or a bit frightening? Drop a comment down below.

You can also check out these other two websites. They’ve got some more information about bearded vultures.

WWF

4Vultures

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