Bearded vultures are the only species to have a diet primarily made up of bone (70-90%). The larger bones are dropped on to rocky slopes in order to break them. If the bone does not break the first time, the method is repeated many times until the bone finally breaks.


Bearded vultures are the only species to have a diet primarily made up of bone (70-90%). The larger bones are dropped on to rocky slopes in order to break them. If the bone does not break the first time, the method is repeated many times until the bone finally breaks.


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  1. Bearded vultures (*Gypaetus barbatus*), also known as the Lammergeier, are native to the Pyrenees between France and Spain the Island of Corsica, Crete, and mainland Greece. It was also reintroduced in the European Alps through a captive breeding program.

    The Bearded vulture has an incredibly acidic stomach acid pH of 1. Humans can have 1-2 when our stomachs are empty but are generally closer to 4 when we have food that is digesting (which is most of the time). This may not sound like a huge difference, but pH is on a logarithmic scale, so 1 is 10x more acidic than 2, and so on. [Here is a full and free journal article](https://sora.unm.edu/sites/default/files/journals/jrr/v028n02/p00073-p00078.pdf) about the Bearded vulture’s stomach and digestion. Humans can, however, digest very small bones. A scientist in 1994 ate a shrew and then waited for the bones to come out – many bones did not pass through, though the skull made it with some damage. [Here’s the news article about that](https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/shrew-eating-scientists-show-humans-can-digest-bone-66337580/).

    For further reading:

    * [*Bearded Vulture*](http://wwf.panda.org/our_work/wildlife/profiles/birds/bearded_vulture/) – World Wildlife Fund

    * [*Absurd Creature of the Week: The Magnificent Bearded Vulture Only Eats Bones. Metal Dude.*](https://www.wired.com/2016/01/absurd-creature-of-the-week-the-magnificent-bearded-vulture-only-eats-bone-metal-dude/) -Wired

    * [*Why the Bearded Vulture’s diet is the strangest among all birds*](https://www.birdwatchingdaily.com/beginners/birding-faq/why-bearded-vulture-strangest-diet/) – Bird Watching Daily
    * [*Why do bone-eating bearded vultures stain their feathers rusty red?*](https://www.earthtouchnews.com/natural-world/animal-behaviour/why-do-bone-eating-bearded-vultures-stain-their-feathers-rusty-red/) – Earth Touch News Network
    * [*11 Facts About the Bone-Eating Bearded Vulture*](http://mentalfloss.com/article/58253/11-facts-about-bone-eating-bearded-vulture) – Mental Floss

    * [*The Horrifying Bearded Vulture Lives On A Diet Of Bones And Will Haunt You For The Rest of Your Life*](https://www.ranker.com/list/bearded-vulture-facts/laura-allan) – Ranker

    Videos:

    * [*Wild African vulture birds scavage bones of dead animals*](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zxj9YO4Qtx0) – BBC wildlife
    * [*The Lammergeier*](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NkfQbrPOO8Q)
    * [*The Bearded Vulture – the bone-breaker*](https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwTOK07jIzg) – Wildlife Winners & Losers

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