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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.


Class, order and family :
Aves, Accipitriformes, Accipitridae
Wingspan :
over 2 metres
Weight :
7,5 to 11 kg
Natural habitat :
Diet :
carnivore - scavenger
Native region :
the Balkans and the Caucasus
Statut UICN : 

Least Concern (LC)


The griffon vulture feeds mainly on carcasses and plays an essential role in the food chain by limiting the spread of disease and bacteriological pollution caused by corpses.
This natural "garbage collector" nests on cliffs in colonies that can number several hundred pairs.
When a corpse is spotted, the vultures warn their fellow vultures by circling in concentric patterns and uttering loud cries that can be heard from several kilometres away.

Distinctive features

It is one of the largest birds of prey in France. Its exceptional eyesight enables it to see carrion from a distance, and its hooked beak can tear through even the toughest fabrics!

Griffon vultures are now recognised as key players in the ecosystem by shepherds and farmers. There are now almost 600 pairs in the Pyrenees, the Grands Causses, the Vercors, the Baronnies and the Verdon.


Vultures almost disappeared from France between 1920 and 1940. As a result of conservation and reintroduction measures since the 1980s, France is now the only country in the world where vulture populations are increasing. In contrast, populations in North Africa and the Middle East are still declining. 

However, numbers remain low and there are still threats from power grids, recreational activities such as via ferrata, paragliding and hang-gliding, which interfere with nesting, fires, deforestation, poisoning and wind turbines. 

The Parc zoologique de Paris is taking part in a co-ordination project between zoos to preserve the species' genetic diversity with a view to further reintroductions. The development of natural rendering plots for use by farmers, where the vultures come to feed, contributes to their survival.



The group at the Parc zoologique de Paris is made up of around ten vultures, including Satory. He is 18 years old, weighs almost 8 kg and has a wingspan of over 2.50 m. He shares his aviary with his female and other vultures, including a red kite and a Egyptian vulture. Satory wears a green and yellow ring on his right leg.

Photo d'un vautour fauve