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Rare bird sighting

A rare vulture has been spotted on Dartmoor, and it is the first time the bird has been seen in Britain. The bearded vulture, also known as a lammergeyer, lives on the marrow from animal bones.

The bird, was reported to have been seen around the Avon Damn, and further north around the River Severn.

It is thought that there are fewer than 10,000 pairs that exist in the wild, and is commonly found in high mountains in southern Europe, Africa and Tibet. The bird seen on Dartmoor looked to be a juvenile, as a full grown lammergeyer has a wingspan of more than 9.3ft (2.83m).

Dale Kedward filmed the bird when out walking his dog. He said: “It looked prehistoric. I thought it was going to pick up my dog, it was that big.”

The species has been reintroduced in Europe, around the Spanish Pyrenees and the Swiss and Italian Alps, after it was previously wiped out from the European continent. It is still listed as ‘near threatened’ on conservation lists.

The bearded vulture is the only bird of prey to live almost entirely on the marrow from bones, and has been known to crack large bones that it can’t break with its beak, by dropping them from a height of 160-490ft (50-150m).

According to birding websites who were noted of the bird’s appearance on Dartmoor and further north, said the bleached flight feathers that are common to reintroduced species that keep track of them were not seen on the vulture, suggesting it is a wild bird.

Dartmoor is home to many fascinating birds and animals. If you are having a short break in South Devon, we recommend visiting some nature reserves across Dartmoor, but we can’t guarantee you will spot an enormous vulture flying about!

Photo by: Tambako the Jaguar