Saturday, February 9, 2013

I'd Rather B Birdin: Griffon Vulture

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A Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus), trying to cool down by panting with an open beak. These birds are Old World Vultures and live in Europe, Asia and Africa. They are big birds, weighing around 10kg and having a wingspan of 2.5 metres.

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They have naked heads because they will dive headfirst into a carcass and having almost no feathers on their head and neck keeps them clean(er). A colony of Griffon vultures usually has about twenty birds and they will circle in the air in sight of each other, each looking for food. When one bird dives, the others will follow and so a big group will soon gather around a carcass. Here is a gorgeous video of a griffon vulture in flight.

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Here's a small group feeding. The brown ones are juveniles. A pair will lay only one egg each year and the chicks are born naked after 52 days. Their parents will care for them for three months.

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Here you can see the nicitating membrane, the third eyelid birds and many other animals possess. It serves to remove particles of dust ect. from the eye and will also protect the eye while still allowing the bird to see.

More birds at I'd Rather B Birdin
Photos were taken at Tierpark Berlin and Wilhelma Stuttgart

Sources:
Internet Bird Collection
BirdLife
Arkive
Wikipedia

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