5 Interesting Facts About Lammergeiers

Lammergeier

Here is a lammergeier swooping down on some bones

Today I want to write about a vulture that has a very unusual diet, the lammergeier.

Here are five interesting facts about them:

  1. Also known as bearded vultures, these magnificent birds grow up to 125 cm tall and have a wingspan of up to 2.8 metres.  They are unusual amongst vultures in that they have feathers on their head.  The name lammergeier is German for “lamb vulture.”
  2. Lammergeiers have very unusual eating habits and are the only birds in the world that live almost entirely on bone marrow.  They have very strong acid in their stomachs that enables them to break down small bones in less than 24 hours.  With larger bones, they pick them up and fly in the air over rocky areas, dropping them until they smash so that they can get to the marrow inside.  They also have been seen doing this with tortoises, lizards and small mammals.
  3. The feathers on their head, chest and legs are actually creamy-white, but they often appear orange as they like to rub their feathers in mud and dirt.
  4. Lammergeiers generally mate for life and build very large nests up to one metre across on cliff ledges and in mountain caves.  They lay 1-3 eggs per clutch and the chicks are able to fly and leave the nest after about 4 months.
  5. They are found in high mountain ranges throughout southern Europe, Africa and Asia.  They have even been found on Mount Everest.  They are not considered to be endangered, but their numbers are dropping in some areas.

I hope that you found these facts interesting and learned something new.

Are there any other interesting facts that you would like to share about lammergeiers?

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