Friday, May 02, 2008

Eurasian Bearded Vulture

A Eurasian Bearded Vulture, Gypaetus barbatus barbatus, out enjoying the sunny weather we've been having. This one is at the San Diego Zoo, one of the largest zoos in the world. I used a telephoto and managed to focus between the grates in the cage to get this shot. I'm wondering if the ornithologist that named him had a sense of humor since his name rhymes. It's pronounced (if I recall my Latin pronunciations more or less) Jip-Ate-us bar-bate-us bar-bate-us. It's got a nice ring to it! The name (barbatus) refers to the long black chin bristles (looks like a goatee). This amazing scavenger lives on the bones of wild sheep left by predators. They actually digest not just the marrow but the bones as well. How's that for stomach acid? Have a great weekend!

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