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Bearded Vulture


The bearded vulture or lammergeier, Gypaetus barbatus, is a unique bird of prey well-known to many for its striking appearance and unusual feeding strategies. Though traditionally considered an Old World vulture, modern phylogenetics places the bearded vulture in a minor lineage of Accipitidrae, the hawks, along with one other living relative (the Egyptian vulture).

Its vulture affinities are clear in its preference for carrion, but it lives almost entirely on bone marrow, which it extracts from the bones of dead animals with its powerful digestive system. The bearded vulture has extraordinarily corrosive stomach acids, which enable it to swallow bones of enormous size and break them down, as well as massive neck muscles and a heavy bill to bite through larger bones to more manageable sizes. For breaking especially large bones, this bird has been known to carry them above the high-altitude cliffs and crags in which it lives, where it drops them to splinter open on the rock below. It has been observed dispatching live prey, most notably tortoises, in the same fashion.

The bearded vulture is huge, with wingspans up to nearly 10 feet, and is unmistakable in its coloration and proportions. Unlike other birds of prey at this size range, it has relatively long, narrow wings, and has been described as a "scaled-up falcon".

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rogangr8's avatar
The bearded vulture is the most metal bird. This is fact.
Cat-Loving-Queen's avatar
Amazing art!! The lammergeier is my second favourite bird!
MigaraTaurus's avatar
My favorite artwork of my favorite extant dinosaur!
corvidaegenus's avatar
Excellent work, i really like it :clap:
Heytomemeimhome's avatar
OH exelent the coloration is superb, I love the ossifrage.
NathanLParker's avatar

Have you heard the story about Aeschylus and the eagle? Supposedly the playwright was killed when an eagle, mistaking his bald head for a stone, dropped a tortoise on it. If true, a lammergeier would be the likeliest culprit.
cj5982's avatar
Light-Lein's avatar
Amazing drawing :D! I think vultures are great to draw with their expressive heads. I once saw a serie of David Attenborough about this vulture which was great to see (with the bone dropping behaviour). I still would love to see one of them in the wild once :).
ShinRedDear's avatar
The Lammergeier has always been one of my favourite birds, because I used to watch quite a lot of documentaries about it when I was a child. This bird was one of the only things related to my home country I was actually proud of (the bearded vulture's habitat includes Switzerland). And its bone smashing technique impressed me. Your depiction really gives it justice, looking a bit like old school illustrated encyclopedias. :)
dinosapien's avatar
keight's avatar
Beautiful work, Emily.
Arcovenator's avatar
SageKorppi's avatar
Basically the best vulture ever and one of the coolest birds in general!  AAAHH! LOVE IT!
arvalis's avatar
I noticed you gave it decidedly non-avian dinosaur feet.  Is there a particular reason you didnt go with actual bearded vulture feet?
EWilloughby's avatar
?? Not sure I understand--the feet were referenced from a variety of bearded vulture photographs (including…) and the accuracy was confirmed by several museum advisors. The hallux, hidden behind the feet, would not be in view here. Otherwise, I'm not sure there's any salient difference between the feet of modern birds and non-avian dinosaurs, at least at this relatively un-detailed level.
arvalis's avatar
Here are a few things I noticed Screen Shot 2015-06-12 at 7.24.31 PM by arvalis   I'm like super into drawing bird and dino feet, so I'm probably more picky about details than your average museum advisor. 
Banvivirie's avatar
That's impressive, I would have probably overlooked those kinds of details. :D
EWilloughby's avatar
Considering that I had about 2-3 days for each one of these paintings, I think it's alright. Thanks for the feedback, though.
arvalis's avatar
Its all good.  You are generally known as the premier bird and feathery dino artist.  I just was wondering if you knew something I didn't or it was some other species of bearded vulture I hadnt heard about.
tassietyger's avatar
Such a majestic bird :heart: vultures are awesome!
Dontknowwhattodraw94's avatar
Gorgeous work! I hope your collection of bird paintings contains a whole lot of more works that are going to get uploaded :)
EWilloughby's avatar
I have 50+ of them to go!
Dontknowwhattodraw94's avatar
Oh, then I guess we're fine for a few months xD
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