Bearded vulture

Here is a picture of Bearded vulture

The Bearded vulture was extirpated from the Alps around 1880-1920, because of decreases in food availability (decline of wild ungulates and hence bones) and systematic persecution by humans. Birds reared in captivity have been reintroduced into the Alps since 1986. We first built a habitat suitability model for the Valais area, which showed the importance of Ibex populations and limestone substrate. Second, we applied a mark-recapture framework and population viability analysis to all observations collected until 2006 in the Alps in order to estimate the demographic parameters and the risks of extinction of the reintroduced population. This information will provide guidance for a better management within the reintroduction programme.

Uni Bern supervisors

Alexandre Hirzel, Raphaël Arlettaz

External collaborator

Dr. Antoni Margalida, Bearded Vulture Study and Protection Group, El Pont de Suert, Spain

Further informations

Link to project website


Hernández, M., M.À. Colomer, M. Pizarro & A. Margalida. 2018. Changes in eggshell thickness and ultrastructure in the Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus) Pyrenean population: A long-term analysis. Science of the Total Environment 624: 713-721. (PDF, 433KB)

Margalida, A. & D. Villalba. 2017. The importance of the nutritive value of old bones in the diet of Bearded vultures Gypaetus barbatus. Scientific Reports 7: article number 8061. (PDF, 887KB)

Margalida, A. 2017. Importance of Long-Term Studies to Conservation Practice: The Case of the Bearded Vulture in the Pyrenees. In High Mountain Conservation in a Changing World (eds. J. Catalan, J.M. Ninot & M.M. Aniz), pp. 343-383. Springer Open, Cham. (PDF, 939KB)

Margalida, A., J.M. Pérez-García & R. Moreno-Opo. 2017. European policies on livestock carcasses management did not modify the foraging behavior of a threatened vulture. Ecological Indicators 80: 66-73. (PDF, 536KB)

Margalida, A., J.M. Martínez, A. Gómez de Segura, M.A. Colomer, R. Arlettaz & D. Serrano. 2017. Supplementary feeding and young extraction from the wild are not a sensible alternative to captive breeding for reintroducing bearded vultures Gypaetus barbatus. Journal of Applied Ecology 54: 334-340. (PDF, 269KB)

Schulze-Hagen, K., H. Frey & A. Margalida. 2016. Ernährungsspezialist Bartgeier: Der Vogel, der von Knochen lebt. Der Falke 63 (Sonderheft): 8-15. (PDF, 6.9 MB)

Margalida, A., J.M. Pérez-García, I. Afonso & R. Moreno-Opo. 2016. Spatial and temporal movements in Pyrenean bearded vultures (Gypaetus barbatus): Integrating movement ecology into conservation practice. Scientific Reports 6: article number 35746. (PDF, 1.6 MB)

Margalida, A., M.À. Colomer, D. Oro, R. Arlettaz & J.A. Donázar. 2015. Assessing the impact of removal scenarios on population viability of a thretened, long-lived avian scavenger. Scientific Reports 5: report 16962. (PDF, 696KB)

Moreno-Opo, R., A. Trujillano, Á. Arredondo, L.M. González & A. Margalida. 2015. Manipulating size, amount and appearance of food inputs to optimize supplementary feeding programs for European vultures. Biological Conservation 181:27-35. (PDF, 1.3 MB)

Margalida, A., M.À. Colomer & D. Oro. 2014. Man-induced activities modify demographic parameters in a long-lived species: effects of poisoning and health policies. Ecological Applications 24: 436-444. (PDF, 317KB)

Margalida, A. & A.B. Marín-Arroyo. 2013. Dietary habits in the endangered Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus from Upper Pleistocene to modern times in Spain: a paleobiological conservation perspective. Bird Conservation International 23:469-476. (PDF, 164KB)

Margalida, A., M. Carrete, D. Hegglin, D. Serrano, R. Arenas & J.A. Donázar. 2013. Uneven Large-Scale Movement Patterns in Wild and Reintroduced Pre-Adult Bearded Vultures: Conservation Implications. PLoS ONE 8: e65857. (PDF, 4.1 MB)

Marín-Arroyo, A.B. & A. Margalida. 2012. Distinguishing Bearded Vulture Activities within Archaeological Contexts: Identification Guidelines. International Journal of Osteoarchaeology 22:563-576. (PDF, 475KB)

Margalida, A. & D. García. 2011. Intraspecific nest usurpation in the bearded vulture Gypaetus barbatus in Catalonia (NE Spain). Ardeola 58: 303-308. (PDF, 79KB)

Margalida, A., D. Oro, A. Cortés-Avizanda, R. Heredia & J.A. Donázar. 2011. Misleading Population Estimates: Biases and Consistency of Visual Surveys and Matrix Modelling in the Endangered Bearded Vulture. PLoS ONE 6: e26784. (PDF, 217KB)

Margalida, A., M.À. Colomer & D. Sanuy. 2011. Can Wild Ungulate Carcasses Provide Enough Biomass to Maintain Avian Scavenger Populations? An Empirical Assessment Using a Bio-Inspired Computational Model. PLoS ONE 6: e20248. (PDF, 1.1 MB)

Schaub, M., R. Zink, H. Beissmann, F. Sarrazin & R. Arlettaz. 2009. When to end releases in reintroduction programmes: demographic rates and population viability analysis of bearded vultures in the Alps. Journal of Applied Ecology 46: 92-100. (PDF, 539KB)

Hirzel, A.H. & R. Arlettaz. 2004. Environmental-envelope based habitat-suitability models. In: S. Huzurbazar (ed.), Resource Selection Methods and Applications, Madison, Omnipress: 67-76. (PDF, 2.5 MB)

Hirzel, A.H., B. Posse , P.A. Oggier , Y. Crettenand , C. Glenz & R. Arlettaz. 2004. Ecological requirements of reintroduced species and the implications for release policy: the case of the bearded vulture. Journal of Applied Ecology 41: 1103-1116. (PDF, 230KB)

Hirzel, A.H. & R. Arlettaz. 2003. Modelling habitat suitability for complex species distributions by the environmental-distance geometric mean. Environmental Management 32: 614-623. (PDF, 1.0 MB)

Arlettaz, R., P. Christe, P.F. Surai & A.P. Møller. 2002. Deliberate rusty staining of plumage in the Bearded vulture: does function precede art? Animal Behaviour 64: F1-F3. (PDF, 82KB)