Bearded Vulture


Gypaetus Barbatus

Local name = Kiltim Sebari

One of the largest and most spectacular birds in Ethiopia this enormous bird has a wingspan of over 2m. They are often seen soaring alone along high cliffs and rock outcrops looking for food. Cloaked at speeds of 130km/hr. and flying at staggering heights with barely beat of it gigantic wings, they are a magnificent sight.

Lammergeyers wait patiently until other scavengers finish picking meat off a Caracas to make their move. They soar down to retrieve a whole bone and return to the sky. From there, the bird picks up speed, pointing the bone forwards to reduce air resistance and heads for an area of open rock as it nears the dropping zone, the bearded vulture dips sharply to increase velocity and releases the bone to fall and break on the rocks below, they are incredibly accurate at estimating where and when to drop the bone, they usually hit an area of 4m square while soaring at a height of 30m to 40m. As the bones shatters, the birds descend rapidly turning into the wind, spreading its tail and flapping its wings to brake. They swallow the bone shards whole as their gastric fluids are so strong that they can easily digest bone.

The lammergeyer is the only bid that feeds almost exclusively on bone (70-90percent of diet).

The reddish plumage on the neck and under parts of the birds comes from iron oxide that they rub onto themselves from stones and dusts.