A bone-eating bearded vulture just entered Romanian airspace for the first time in more than 80 years, scientists announced Friday.
In an image provided by the Romanian Ornithological Society, a rare bearded vulture flies near Baia-Mare, Romania.
Sebastian Bugariu / AP
The bird, named Adonis, was born in captivity in the Czech Republic in 2014 as part of a European breeding program.The vultures, which were once falsely thought to be capable of attacking small livestock and even children, were all but eradicated from Europe.Bearded vultures get their name from the bristles at the base of the beak. And their reddish yellow and white plumage complete their distinctive appearance.
Innsbruck Alpenzoo / Flickr / Via Flickr: pilot_michael
The birds swallow small bones whole, and drop larger bones from the sky to crack into digestible pieces. Their highly acidic stomachs then digest the nutritious bone fragments, particularly the marrow, for which they face little competition.With a wingspan that can reach roughly 9 feet, the bearded vulture is the Alps’ largest bird and one of the rarest raptors in Europe, according to the World Wildlife Fund.Last year, the International Union for Conservation of Nature listed the species of bird, Gypaetus barbatus, as being “near threatened