Lammergeier, a large vulture that lives in the mountains of Africa, southern Europe, and southern Asia. It is also called the bearded vulture and bearded griffin. It differs from other vultures in that its head is fully feathered. An adult lammergeier is about 42 inches (107 cm) long, with a wingspread of more than 9 feet (2.7 m). It is black to brown above, tawny below, with a white head and a black stripe on each cheek.
The lammergeier feeds on dead animal matter. It is particularly fond of bone marrow, which it obtains by carrying bones to great heights and dropping them on rocks. The female lays a single egg (sometimes two) about three inches (7.6 cm) long in a nest of sticks usually built on a rock ledge.
Lammergeiers are rare. They were formerly killed in large numbers because people feared (without justification) that they carried off children and domestic animals; the birds were also hunted as trophies. Since 1986, some lammergeiers bred in European zoos have been released into the wild; in 1997 one such pair hatched the first wildbred offspring in more than a century. In 1998 a lammergeier breeding center was opened in the Swiss Alps.
The lammergeier is Gypaëtus barbatus of the family Accipitridae.