Sunday, 17 November 2013

135. Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus)

I've reached the raptors! First up is Lammergeier, a rare vulture which in Europe is only found in regions with high mountains, such as the Alps (where it has been reintroduced), the Pyrenees and mountainous parts of Greece and Turkey. It is known for its interesting feeding technique - its diet consists mainly of bone marrow, which it obtains by dropping bones from great heights onto hard rocks to smash them open. It will also do this with tortoises! In flight it has long and unusually narrow pointed wings for a raptor this large, and a distinctive long wedge-shaped tail; it patrols mountainsides soaring and gliding with flattish wings slightly curved down. Juveniles are mostly dark brown with a paler mantle and underparts; in flight they look more compact than adults with shorter, blunter, wings and tail.

Lammergeier, ©Ian N. White, via Flickr Creative Commons.
Lammergeier painting.
Hmm not great. There'll probably be lots of birds in flight for me to tackle as I work my way through the raptors, hopefully I will improve in this area which thus far seems to have caused me some difficulty.

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