June 12, 2024

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This Spanish bird takes a decade to reproduce

This Spanish bird takes a decade to reproduce

Legend says that Aeschylus is one of the fathers of Greek tragedyAfraid of death, he consulted a priest about how his end would occur. The fortune teller assured him that he would die when a house fell on him, so he decided to move away from the city of Gela, where he lived, and go to live his old age in the countryside. How unlucky it would be that a large bird of prey mistook his bald head for a rock and Suddenly he dropped his turtle shell on her.Thus, he fulfilled the vision of revelation and ended his life.

Apocalyptic mythology aside, if there was ever a great bird of prey that could be responsible for the death of Aeschylus, it is it Osprey.

Bearded vulture – Andrei Anita / iStock

Bearded vulture

bearded vulture (Jebatus barbatus) It is a majestic bird of prey found in the mountains Iberian Peninsula And in other mountainous regions of Europe, Asia and Africa. An amazing creature with its unique appearance and adorable behavior.

The bearded vulture is a large bird, its plumage combines shades of ochre, white and black. It is one of its most distinctive features A collar of white feathers surrounds his neckWhich gives it an elegant and attractive look. It also stands out for Its wingspan can reach 2.8 metresWhich makes it one of the largest birds in Europe.

However, what really sets the bearded vulture apart is its unique diet of dead animal bones. Its name “bearded vulture” comes from its bird The ability to break bones and access the marrow within them. It uses a strong beak and strong claws that allow it to deftly manipulate bones. But when the material is too difficult, he offers a unique strategy: He rises in the air until he reaches a great height, stops on a rocky area and the bone falls, which splits upon impact. From this derives the legend of Aeschylus’ death.

This adaptation allows it to take advantage of the available food source even in the harshest mountain conditions.

Bearded Vulture – AOosthuizen/iStock

An endangered bird

In terms of its conservation as a species, as with other birds of prey, the bearded vulture faces serious threats. according to International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)listed as “near threatened.”

The global bearded vulture population is declining In the past decades. This species has seen a sharp population decline in the past, mainly due to direct persecution by humans and degradation of its habitat. This decline was so great that the bearded vulture disappeared from many areas where it used to live. Currently, the population of bearded vultures in the world It is estimated at about 4,200 mature individuals..

In Spainthe situation is more alarming, because this type belongs to the category “Danger of extinction” Pursuant to Royal Decree No. 139/2011 regulating the protection of wild species. But fortunately, the trend here is increasing. While in 1994, the number of bearded vultures in Spain was estimated at 39 pairs, thanks to conservation programs and reintroduction plans, in recent decades it has been slowly but gradually recovering. According to a European Commission report written by David Izquierdo, of the Eagle Conservation Foundation, In 2015 the population was about 115 couplesAnd perhaps even higher today.

Bearded Vulture – Roberto Marcon/iStock

Conservation is limited by its reproduction

The bearded vulture faces multiple challenges, in addition to historical persecution and habitat degradation. In Spain in particular, despite the increase in specimens and the great efforts to preserve them, The bearded vulture population remains small and fragmented. Conservation actions have focused on reintroducing specimens to appropriate areas, protecting their breeding areas and promoting environmental education to raise awareness among the population about the importance of their conservation.

However, the recovery of wild populations is limited by a factor that is difficult to avoid: the time it takes to reproduce. This bird reaches sexual maturity when it is 10 years old.Which greatly slows down her ability to reproduce. However, their life expectancy can reach 40 years, allowing them, once they reach adulthood, a long reproductive life.


  • Bank of England. 2011. Royal Decree No. 139/2011 of February 4 regarding the preparation of the list of wild species subject to the special protection system and the Spanish Catalog of Threatened Species.
  • International Union for Conservation of Nature. 2021. Gypaetus barbatus: BirdLife International: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2021: e.T22695174A154813652 [Data set]. DOI: 10.2305/IUCN.UK.2021-3.RLTS.T22695174A154813652.en
  • Izquierdo, D. F. EU plan to restore individual species to the Western Arctic population of the bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus barbatus).
  • Sanchez, B. et al. 2004. After a century of absence, the bearded vulture is recovering in Picos de Europa.
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