Monday, January 20, 2014

The Huge and Powerful Bearded Vultures

The Bearded Vultures can be easily identified because they have black sideburns and red rings around their eyes. Their tails are long and shaped like wedges. Bearded Vultures have black marks on their faces and their wings are colored black.

Their necks, heads and bodies have a corroded color of orange.This is because they rub themselves in ferric oxide mud (a mineral form of iron) when they are in the wild.

When in captivity, bearded vultures are colored white. These birds of prey are huge in size with a length of 100 - 115 centimeters. their weight can reach four and one-half kilograms to seven kilograms.  In captivity they can live for as long as 45 years.

These birds can be found in Southern Europe among the mountainous areas. Because their food supply, which consists of roe, chanois, and deer has decreased, their population has lessened in number.

Their population is rather rare and there are about 600 - 1,000 pairs that are now living in Europe. Adults stay in one place only, and that is where they will breed.

Younger birds of these kind like to go further away over long distances. Normally those that stay in the Alps move along the Alps only, but others will move farther away to places like Belgium, Denmark and Norway.

Bearded Vultures start breeding early in the year. They normally breed when they reach the age of six to eight years old. If their habitat is in the Southwest part of Europe, they will start their breeding during the second week of December to the second week of February. If their habitats are located in the Alps, they will breed from the end of January to the beginning of February.

This is a strategy that they use because it is during these times that food is plentiful. They will lay two eggs and incubation will last for at least 58 days. It is normal for the first chick that hatches to kill the second chick. There are also chances that the first egg will never  hatch and the second egg hatches. The chicks will stay in their nests between 103 to 133 days in their nests.

The birds search for food above tree lines. 
They feed on dead animals and bones. These birds of prey are known as lammergeiers (bone breakers). They can eat bones as big a a sheep's backbone. If it is the too large, they will drop it on rocks from as high as one hundred meters so that it will break. This will break them into pieces and it makes it easier for them to digest. They have been spotted also dropping young tortoises and then eating them. They are known to drink a lot of water because the bones of these animals are dry. Their young ones in the nests are fed meat because they are not strong enough to eat bones.

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