Hellenica World

Gyps fulvus

Gyps fulvus (*)

Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Aves
Subclassis: Carinatae
Infraclassis: Neornithes
Parvclassis: Neognathae
Ordo: Falconiformes
Familia: Accipitridae
Subfamilia: Aegypiinae
Genus: Gyps
Species: Gyps fulvus
Subspecies: G. f. fulvescens - G. f. fulvus

Name

Gyps fulvus (Hablizl, 1783)

Reference

Neue Nordische Beytraege Zur Physikalischen und Geographischen Erd- Und Völerbeschreibung, Naturgeschichte, Und Ökonomie 4 p.58

Vernacular names
Internationalization
Català: Voltor comú
Česky: Sup bělohlavý
Ελληνικά: Όρνιο
English: Griffon Vulture
Español: Buitre leonado
Hrvatski: Bjeloglavi sup
Nederlands: Vale gier
Polski: Sęp płowy
Slovenščina: Beloglavi jastreb
Türkçe: Kızıl akbaba
Українська: Сип білоголовий

The Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) is a large Old World vulture in the bird of prey family Accipitridae.

The Griffon Vulture is 93–110 cm (37–43 in) long with a 230–280 cm (91–111 in) wingspan, and it weighs between 6 and 13 kg (13.2 and 29 lb). Hatched naked, it is a typical Old World vulture in appearance, with a very white bald head, very broad wings and short tail feathers. It has a white neck ruff and yellow bill. The buff body and wing coverts contrast with the dark flight feathers.

Like other vultures, it is a scavenger, feeding mostly from carcasses of dead animals which it finds by soaring over open areas, often moving in flocks. It grunts and hisses at roosts or when feeding on carrion.

Little is known about the average life-span of these birds. It is approximated at 50 to 70 years in the wild, but the oldest death recorded in captivity is 118 years old.[1]

It breeds on crags in mountains in southern Europe, north Africa, and Asia, laying one egg. Griffon Vultures may form loose colonies. The population is mostly resident.

Status in Europe

* In Italy, the species survived only in Sardinia, but was re-introduced in a few other areas of the peninsula. As a result, several specimens been spotted again in August 2006 on the Gran Sasso massif (central Italy).
* In Croatia, a colony of Griffon Vultures can be found near the town of Beli on the island of Cres.[2] There they breed at lower elevations, with some nests just 10 m above sea level. Therefore, contact with people is common. The population makes frequent incursions in the Slovenian territory, especially in the mountain Stol above Kobarid.
* In Cyprus, there is a colony at Episkopi, in the south of the island.
* Colonies of Griffon Vultures can be found in northern Israel and in the Golan Heights, where a large colony breeds in the Carmel Mountains, the Negev desert and especially at Gamla, where reintroduction projects are being carried out at breeding centers in the Carmel and Negev.
* In Greece, there are nearly 1000 birds. On Crete they can be found in most mountainous areas, sometimes in groups of up to 20.
* Griffon Vultures have been re-introduced successfully into the Massif Central in France; about 500 are now found there.
* In Belgium and the Netherlands, around 100 birds were present in the summer of 2007. These were vagrants from the Pyrenees population (see below).[3]
* In Germany, the species died out in the mid 18th century. Some 200 vagrant birds, probably from the Pyrenees, were sighted in 2006,[4] and several dozen of the vagrants sighted in Belgium the following year crossed into Germany in search for food.[5] There are plans to reintroduce the species in the Alps. In September 2008, pieces of a griffon vulture bone, about 35,000 years old, were excavated from Hohle Fels cave in southern Germany, which are believed to form a flute.[6][7]
* In Serbia, there are around 60–65 pairs of Griffon Vultures in western parts of the country, around Zlatar mountain,also 35 birds in canyon of river Trešnjica[8] and they are under legal protection from hunting.[9]
* In Switzerland, there is a population of several dozen birds.
* In Austria, there is a remnant population around Salzburg Zoo, and vagrants from the Balkans are often seen.
* In Spain, there are tens of thousands of birds, from a low of a few thousand around 1980.
* The Pyrenees population has apparently been affected by an EC ruling that due to danger of BSE transmission, no carcasses must be left on the fields for the time being. This has critically lowered food availability, and consequently, carrying capacity. Although the Griffon Vulture does not normally attack larger living prey, there are reports of Spanish Griffon Vultures killing weak, young or unhealthy living animals as they do not find enough carrion to eat.[10]

Notes

1. ^ WolframAlpha, 2010-NOV-23: Life-Span of Griffon Vulture, from Wolfram Alpha Checked 2010-NOV-23.
2. ^ Griffon Vulture on Cres
3. ^ n-tv.de, 2007-JUN-18: Gänsegeier in Flandern. Retrieved 2007-JUN-20.
4. ^ Handelsblatt, 2006-JUN-30: Großer Geier-Einflug über Deutschland. Retrieved 2007-JUN-20
5. ^ n-tv.de, 2006-JUN-22: Gänsegeier in Deutschland. Retrieved 2007-JUN-25
6. ^ Associated Press, Prehistoric flute in Germany is oldest known. Retrieved 2009-JUN-24.
7. ^ Science Centric, Earliest musical tradition documented in SW Germany. Retrieved 2009-JUN-24.
8. ^ Canyon of river Trešnjica
9. ^ Zlatar tourist organization, Serbia
10. ^ New Scientist, 2007-JUN-01: Starving vultures switch to live prey. Retrieved 2007-JUN-20.

References

* BirdLife International (2008). Gyps fulvus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 1 November 2008. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern

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