The South African Bird Ringing Unit


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Longevity record for the Bearded Vulture


Dane Paijmans(2016-11-10)




A record previously overlooked during our vulture longevity stories was that of the Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus). The SAFRING database has only 47 records in total for this species, and of these there is only one retrap/recovery (this longevity record). This low record number is understandable owing to an estimated population of only 100 breeding pairs in South Africa. The global population is estimated at 2000-10000 individuals (an estimated 1,300-6,700 mature individuals) [ref]. As a result of this low global population and the current decline in numbers this species is listed as Near Threatened by the IUCN. The major factors in this decline are reduced food availability, persecution, power line/ wind turbine collisions and poisoning.

Our longevity record was first ringed as an adult by Mr CJ Brown at Giants Castle Game Reserve, KwaZulu-Natal in January 22, 1981. It was recovered 17 kilometres away in Kamberg Nature Reserve on October 14, 1981 by Dr D Johnson of the Natal Parks Board. This record is quite old and although ringing and research has occurred more recently, no resightings of previously ringed birds were documented. If you feel you know of an older record please contact us at SAFRING with the details.
The image included with this article is accredited to Dylan Burmester and was linked from BirdPix.
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  Taxonomy   Maximum Longevity
  Order: Accipitriformes
       Family:  Accipitridae
             GenusGypaetus
  n/a (Roberts 7)
  10.73 years (SAFRING)
  Species   Ring Number
  Gypaetus barbatus G15517
  Common name   Sample size
 Bearded Vulture   Ringed: 46  Retrapped: 0
  Recovered: 1  Total: 47


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