from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. A large predatory bird (Gypaetus barbatus) of the vulture family, ranging from the mountainous regions of southern Europe to China and having a wide wingspan and black plumage. Also called bearded vulture, ossifrage.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. A long-winged vulture, Gypaetus barbatus, found in southern Europe, Africa and India.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. A very large diurnal bird of prey, the so-called bearded vulture or griffin of the Alps, Gypaëtus barbatus, of the family Falconidæ, or placed in a separate family Gypaëtidæ (which see).
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- n. the largest Eurasian bird of prey; having black feathers hanging around the bill
Although 179 highland bird species have been recorded for the mountain, species recorded in the upper zones are few in number, although they include occasional lammergeier Gypaetus barbatus, mainly on the Shira ridge, hill chat Cercomela sordida, Hunter's cisticola Cisticola hunteri, and scarlet-tufted malachite sunbird Nectarinia johnstoni.
Aeschylus was reputedly killed by a tortoise that a lammergeier had dropped on his head; the thought made me draw my head into my shoulder.
The ecoregion also contains the last stronghold of the lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus) in southern Africa.
There are 25 species of raptors including lammergeier Gypaetus barbatus and four other vultures.
There are several other high-elevation specialists, such as the Himalayan snowcock (Tetraogallus himalayensis), Tibetan partridge (Perdix hodgsoniae), snow partridge (Lerwa lerwa), Satyr tragopan (Tragopan satyra), lammergeier, and the Himalayan griffon, that also need conservation attention.
The region was famed in the 1970s for its raptor population, with four vulture species, lammergeier Gypaetus barbatus, black Aegypius monachus, Griffon Gyps fulvus and Egyptian Neophron peranopterus; four eagle species, golden Aquila chrysaetos, short-toed Circaetus gallicus, booted Hieraeetus pennatus and Bonelli's Hieraeetus fasciatus and breeding lanner falcons Falco biarmicus.
However, the snow leopard is not the lone predator here, for the ecoregion harbors the Tibetan wolf (Canis lupus) and large avian predators such as the lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus) and golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), which soar high above the mountain peaks searching for colonial marmots (Marmota himalayana).
None are endemic, but there are several characteristic Himalayan species such as the lammergeier, golden eagle, Himalayan griffon, snow partridge (Lerwa lerwa), Tibetan snowcock (Tetraogallus tibetanus), and Himalayan snowcock (Tetraogallus himalayensis), which should be focal species for conservation efforts.
A very highly endangered raptor is the lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus), of which some forty pairs are still found in the Pyrenees.
Many species of avifauna are found in this ecoregion including such endandered species as the golden eagle (Aquila chrysaetos), and lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus), restricted species such as the Caucasian black grouse (Tetrao mlokosiewiczi), and Caucasian snowcock (Tetraogallus caucasicus).