|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note [French]|
Scientific Name: Gyps fulvus.
Common Names: Eurasian Griffon or Griffon Vulture.
Size: About 15 pounds, wingspan 8 feet.
Small, but bulky.
Voice: Unlike many other species of vulture, the Griffon is able to utter noises. Young make peeps and wheezes.
Diet/Feeding: One of the Old World vultures, Griffons cannot smell. They find food by soaring high, scanning the land for signs of a kill, or for stationary bodies. Often, the vultures will wait on the outskirts of a feeding frenzy, closing in once the mammalian scavengers have gone. Their weak beaks are not designed for ripping open fresh hides. They depend on predators or larger vultures to begin the work for them. Once they can access a carcass, the vultures will gorge themselves. Their crop can hold up to 13 pounds of meat!
Flight: Griffons can soar for 6 to 7 hours, or 100 miles. They often require steep cliffs or mountains to aid them in taking off. It can soar as high as 3300 meters, but has been recorded at hights of up to 9000 meters. Descending on a carcass, the bird can dive at over 100 miles per hour. They are one of the fastest species of vulture.
Behavior: Griffons are very social, living and nesting in colonies of 15 to 20 pairs. Sometimes more than 100 pairs compose a colony. After feeding on a carcass, Griffons often gather at a watering hole to bathe. They are dominant over most of the other vultures in their range, except the cinereous and lappet-faced vulture.
Life Cycle: Young fledge 3 to 4 months after hatching. Griffons are mature enough to breed after 7 years, and live around 40 years.
Breeding: Griffons pair for life. They build nests of grass and twigs on cliff ledges. Mating takes place on the same steep cliff faces where the birds construct their nests, and the female lays one or two eggs 2 months after mating. Both parents tend the egg. Model parents, the griffons incubate their eggs by night, and shade them by day, as the temperature rises. Incubation lasts from 48 to 52 days.
Status: Griffon vultures are quickly losing habitat as humans increase their use of mammal poisons, and expand more and more into their areas. They also suffer at the hands of misunderstanding individuals who do not know the value of these wonderful creatures. In France, their populations are declining so drastically in that conservationists are thinking of bringing in new griffons to help repopulate the area. The griffon is extinct in much of its former range.
Folklore, Misc. Information: The feather of the Eurasian Griffon Vulture, according to greek myth, could protect against snake bites, cure blindness, and relieve the pain of childbirth.
dew77 has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.