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Bearded vulture – Gypaetus barbatus Linnaeus
Vultures are a distinct group of birds of prey which feed on carcasses. According to Othmar Reiser, an ornithologist and early curator of the National Museum, in the early 20th century, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, and Spain were the only European countries inhabited by all four species of vulture: the monk vulture (Aegypius monachus), the griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus), the Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus), and the bearded vulture (Gypaetus barbatus). The griffon, bearded, and Egyptian vultures also nested here. But the beginning of the 21st century has not seen any of these species recorded in Bosnia and Herzegovina aside from rare sightings of the griffon vulture and bearded vulture in transit.
The name bearded vulture comes from the tuft of feathers below the bird’s beak, while the Bosnian name kostoberina (bonepicker) comes from its peculiar way of feeding: the bird shatters bones by dropping them on the rocks from a height, then picks up the fragments from the ground. Five specimens are displayed in the lobby of the Natural Sciences Pavilion. Because the committee is so spectacular, it was displayed in Brussels, Paris, and Budapest in the late nineteenth century.