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Griffon vulture... or B52? Remuzat, Haute Provence.
Camera used: Canon EOS 1000D
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Definitely a B52.
Fiend - 05/Dec/11
How can you distinguish those and Lammergeier? I was pretty sure we saw lammergeier near Mt. Blanc
pog100 - 05/Dec/11
Yes, it will almost certainly have been a Lammergeier near Mont Blanc. There has been a re-introduction programme going for some years in the Aravis. Very occasionally you'll see one of these guys, though there are rare. However, Provence is full of them. There are quite a few differences, however, when they are in flight, the main one you'll see from below is the shape of the tail. A Lammergeier's tail is a very pronounced longish diamond shape whilst a Griffon is fan shaped.
jon - 05/Dec/11
If I remember from the Pyrenees, the Griffons are much, much larger. Ginernormous, in fact! Correct if I'm wrong
David Dear - 06/Dec/11
Hi Dave. Actually, depending on your source of information, Lammergeiers have either the same or even greater wingspan - Griffon 2.3 - 2.8m and Lammergeier 2.3m - 3.0m. They are, however, completely different birds. In flight not only is the tail characteristic, but the shape of the wings is very different. The Lammergeier's wings are long and relatively narrow, the Griffon's wide, a straight leading edge and rounded trailing edge. Think glider vs Spitfire. The Griffon lives off carion whereas the Lammergeier only takes the bones once they are picked clean, and will drop them from a height to break them if necessary. Griffons will often be seen (around here in Provence, anyway) in great numbers - it's not unusual to see 20 or more circling above our village - whereas Lammergeiers are very solitary. I'm certainly not an ornithologist, but I do get excited when I see these things.
jon - 07/Dec/11
Thanks for info Jon. I remember looking down on, I think they were Griffon vultures but it seems I could easily be wrong, from Pic Long in the Neouvielle massif years ago. This year I saw huge bird finding thermals above Plateau d'Emparis in the Ecrins, which I assume could only be a Lammergeier...again I could easily be wrong!
David Dear - 10/Dec/11
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Several years ago I saw 2 Lammergeiers far above at La Daille just before Val D'Isere; identifiable by i) bloody hell they're huge and ii) diamond shape tail - diagnostic. They are a vulture but they don't have bare necks, unlike Griffon & other vultures.
Michael Hood - 10/Jan/13