Description: The Lammergeier, also known as the Bearded Vulture, is a massive bird that can measure up to four feet in length and weigh 15 pounds. Its name means “lamb vulture” in German. They are quite unlike other vultures in that their heads are feathered, and they have long, wedged shaped tails and narrow wings. The wingspan can be more than nine feet! The adult Lammergeier has a white head, black eye stripes, and conspicuous white eyes. The wings and back are dark brown with silvery streaks. The underparts are whitish and the legs are heavily feathered. Most Lammergeiers have brown patches on the throat and breast, the result of the bird’s habit of smearing mud on itself.
Diet: Lammergeiers feed on bone marrow from rotting carcasses. It does not eat rotting meat. It drops bones from great heights in order to crack them and consume the smaller bits. Its stomach acid is actually strong enough to digest the bones. It will also capture and drop tortoises in a similar manner. Lammergeiers find their food by watching the movements of other vultures. They are usually the last bird at the carcass and will wait until other vultures are gone.
Range/Habitat: The Lammergeier is found throughout the mountains of southern Europe, northern Africa, and western and central Asia. Lammergeiers require rugged, mountainous terrains and are found of heights of up to 13,000 feet.
Reproduction: Lammergeiers reach reproductive maturity at age five or six and breed anytime between January and July. The female lays two eggs, which are incubated for about two months. The young spend up to four months in the nest before flying of on their own.