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Le vautour fauve © MNHN - F-G Grandin

The griffon vulture

The griffon vulture, Gyps fulvus, is a scavenger raptor from the Accipitridae family. In Europe, it is especially present in the Mediterranean region, the Balkans, and the whole of Turkey and the Caucasus.

Profile

Class, order and family :
Aves, Accipitriformes, Accipitridae
Wingspan :
over 2 metres
Wingspan :
over 2 metres
Natural habitat :
mountains
Diet :
carnivore - scavenger
Native region :
the Balkans and the Caucasus

Lifestyle

The griffon vulture is a scavenger: it feeds on dead or seriously injured animals, but never attacks healthy animals.

Distinctive features

The griffon vulture has a long neck and head both without feathers so that it can delve deep into carcasses with a reduced risk of infection from the bacteria and viruses carried by the decaying carcasses.

Anecdote

The griffon vulture cannot tear skin with its beak. It uses the carcass’s natural orifices to pull out the tender parts (entrails). With the help of other scavengers, all that’s left after 20 minutes are the polished bones of the carcass skeleton!