Eurasian Griffon

Most social vultures with 12 distinct types of vocalization

Pierre Dalous

This vulture is a majestic and sociable bird of prey that inhabits a vast range extending from Europe to Asia. They are renowned for their gregarious nature and can often be observed congregating in large groups, particularly around carcasses where they gather to feed and socialize.

Unlike some other scavengers, Eurasian griffons are not migratory birds. While older individuals tend to establish relatively sedentary territories, younger birds, especially immature ones, exhibit a penchant for exploration and may undertake extensive journeys in search of food and suitable habitat. This behavior helps to disperse the population and maintain genetic diversity within the species.

Despite their large size and formidable appearance, Eurasian griffons rely primarily on their keen eyesight rather than their sense of smell when foraging for food. They are adept at spotting carrion from great distances and often engage in a behavior known as “following the leader,” where they trail behind other scavengers, such as other vultures or predatory birds, to locate potential food sources.

One of the most fascinating aspects of Eurasian griffon behavior is their hierarchical social structure, particularly evident during feeding events at carcasses. Dominant individuals, often older relatives or more experienced birds, assert their authority and are given priority access to the choicest portions of the carcass. This hierarchy helps to minimize conflict and ensure efficient resource utilization within the group.

With their long necks and powerful beaks, Eurasian griffons are well-equipped for accessing the soft tissues of carcasses, including muscle and internal organs. As they feed, the blood from the carcass may stain their brown heads red, creating a striking and somewhat eerie visual spectacle that underscores the intensity of their feeding behavior.

Distribution

Country
Population est.
Status
Year
Comments
Afghanistan
2021
Albania
2021
Breeding
Algeria
2021
Armenia
2021
Breeding
Austria
2021
Non-Breeding
Azerbaijan
2021
Bangladesh
2021
Vagrant
Belarus
2021
Seasonality Uncertain
Belgium
2021
Vagrant
Bhutan
2021
Bosnia And Herz.
2021
Breeding
Bulgaria
2021
China
2021
Croatia
2021
Cyprus
2021
Czechia
2021
Denmark
2021
Vagrant
Djibouti
2021
Vagrant
Egypt
2021
Eritrea
2021
Estonia
2021
Vagrant
Ethiopia
2021
Finland
2021
Vagrant
France
2021
Georgia
2021
Breeding
Germany
2021
Vagrant
Gibraltar
2021
Passage
Greece
2021
Hungary
2021
Vagrant
India
2021
Breeding
Iran
2021
Iraq
2021
Ireland
2021
Vagrant
Israel
2021
Italy
2021
Jordan
2021
Kazakhstan
2021
Breeding
Kenya
2021
Vagrant
Kuwait
2021
Non-Breeding
Kyrgyzstan
2021
Breeding
Latvia
2021
Vagrant
Lebanon
2021
Libya
2021
Vagrant
Mali
2021
Malta
2021
Vagrant
Mauritania
2021
Mongolia
2021
Montenegro
2021
Breeding
Morocco
2021
Nepal
2021
Breeding
Netherlands
2021
Vagrant
Niger
2021
Vagrant
North Macedonia
2021
Oman
2021
Pakistan
2021
Breeding
Poland
2021
Vagrant
Portugal
2021
Romania
0
Official estimate
EX
2021
Extinct locally
Russia
2021
Breeding: European Russia
Saudi Arabia
2021
Senegal
2021
Serbia
2021
Breeding
Slovakia
2021
Vagrant
Slovenia
2021
Spain
2021
Sudan
2021
Non-Breeding
Switzerland
2021
Vagrant
Syria
2021
Tajikistan
2021
Breeding
Togo
2021
Vagrant
Tunisia
2021
Turkey
2021
Turkmenistan
2021
Breeding
UAE
2021
Non-Breeding
Ukraine
2021
Uzbekistan
2021
Breeding
Yemen
2021

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Terrestrial / Aquatic

Altricial / Precocial

Polygamous / Monogamous

Dimorphic (size) / Monomorphic

Active: Diurnal / Nocturnal

Social behavior: Solitary / Pack / Herd

Diet: Carnivore / Herbivore / Omnivore / Piscivorous / Insectivore

Migratory: Yes / No

Domesticated: Yes / No

Dangerous: Yes / No