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About The Bearded Vulture

Bearded Vulture  (Gypaetus barbatus)

IUCN Red List Status: Regionally Critically Endangered

Estimated Breeding Pairs in South Africa: 50 to 100 breeding pairs in South Africa and Lesotho


The Bearded Vulture has experienced a drastic decline during the past century, which has resulted in an isolated population restricted to the Maloti-Drakensberg mountain range. Interestingly, they are the only known vertebrate with a diet that consists of almost just bone. 


With adults weighing in at 6kgs, a wingspan of 2.6 metres, striking plumage, red eyes and long, diamond-shaped tails, it is easy to see how these beautiful birds acquired the name 'Monarchs of the Mountains'.


Bearded Vultures are cliff nesters, opting for rocky ledges. They lay one or two eggs during winter, with hatchlings being dependent on the parents for up to two years. 

Unlike most Vultures, the Bearded Vulture does not have a bald head, making it better equipped for cooler climates. This bird is a spectacular sight in its own right, as well as a vital component of the environment, performing an essential ecological role as a scavenger.


The Bearded Vulture’s ENTIRE RANGE in the Southern Hemisphere falls within the Maloti-Drakensberg Mountains of South Africa and Lesotho. Bearded and Cape Vultures, breed and forage within the park and surrounding mountains and farmlands, providing an important stronghold for remaining populations of these two cliff nesting species with crucial importance to ecosystems, and eco-tourism as well as their cultural significance.

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