Birds of Switzerland
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    Bearded Vulture

    Gypaetus barbatus

    Information

    The Bearded Vulture is the largest bird in the Alps with a wing span of over 2.6 metres. In the past, many myths prevailed about this vulture, which is still evident in the non-scientific names such as “Rossgyr” (horse vulture), “Gemsengeier” (chamois vulture) or “Lämmergeier” (lambs vulture). By the end of the 19th century it was deliberately decimated and finally exterminated in Switzerland for competitive reasons, due to ignorance and because bounties were paid for shooting them. In 1986 an international programme was launched for its reintroduction in the Alps.

    Voice

    Status (in CH)
    rare, local breeder
    Annual cycle
    The bar on the top line indicates during which seasons the species can be observed regularly in Switzerland. There can be great seasonal fluctuations of numbers. The middle bar indicates the typical migration seasons of a species. The bottom bar indicates the period during which the species normally breeds. As a rule it spans the period from egg-laying to fledging of the young. Annual cycle

    Facts

    Swiss population (min.)
    3 (2008-2012)
    Migration behaviour
    resident
    Length (cm)
    100-115
    wing span (cm)
    250-280
    Weight (g)
    5000-7000
    Nest site
    crevices
    Food
    carcasses, bones
    Group
    Hawks, Vultures and Eagles
    Habitat
    alpine habitats