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The Pecking Order

Member Since May 16, 1999
427 Images, Last upload May 2, 2015

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Vultures have a pecking orders, the largest species of Vultures gets to eat first while the smallest of last in line.

The three species depicted here are the Bearded Vulture or Lammergeier (in front), the Himalayan Vulture (mid-left) and the Slender-billed Vultures (on the rocks).

While all vulture species are declining in population, the Slender-billed Vulture is critically endangered. Some pharmaceutical drugs for inflammation in livestock are deadly to vultures-- which they ingest through carrion. All three of these vultures' regions intersect in the Himalayan region.

Lammergeier usually disdains the actual meat, however, and lives on a diet that is typically compromised at 85-90% by bone marrow. This is the only living bird species that specializes in feeding on marrow. The Lammergeier has learned to crack bones too large to be swallowed by carrying them in flight to a height of 150 m above the ground and then dropping them onto rocks below, which smashes them into smaller pieces and exposes the nutritious marrow. They can fly with bones up to 10 cm (3.9 in) in diameter and weighing over 4 kg (8.8 lb), or nearly equal to their own weight. After dropping the large bones, the Bearded Vulture spirals or glides to down to inspect them and may repeat the act if the bone is not sufficiently cracked. This learned skill requires extensive practice by immature birds and takes up to seven years to master. Its old name of Ossifrage ("bone breaker") relates to this habit. More seldom, these birds have been observed to try to break bones (usually of a medium size) by hammering them with their bill directly into rocks while perched.

Rendered in Poser 2012 without Postwork. Model Credits: Rocks/Plants (Traveler), Songbird Remix Vultures2, Carrion, Ground plane, twigs (Me)
March 28, 2013
276.8 kB

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Image Comments

Mar 28, 2013 6:24:19 pm
Really cool image!

by MNArtist Homepage »

Mar 28, 2013 7:02:50 pm
stunning work

by flavia49 Homepage »

Mar 28, 2013 7:17:09 pm
Nicely done.

by bebopdlx Online Now!   Homepage »

Mar 28, 2013 8:56:26 pm
Fabulous work!

by GrandmaT Homepage »

Mar 28, 2013 9:50:22 pm
I really like this one!!

by katibabi Online Now!   Homepage »

Mar 29, 2013 3:30:42 am
Fantastic scene - all the birds have exactly the right Jiz. The wonderful Lammergeier is one of our planets most spectacular birds with huge size and its rich, tawny-golden plumage and contrasting dark feather, wing and eye trim. Nature showing off its best!

by Kinchie Homepage »

Mar 29, 2013 4:43:50 am
Beautiful render..I do like the descriptions you add with all the birds you present..

by vitachick Homepage »

Mar 29, 2013 8:05:21 am
Very good work, excellent!

by AzimuthDavid Homepage »

Mar 29, 2013 11:20:48 am
A stunningly realistic render! Great birds!

by Flint_Hawk Homepage »

Mar 29, 2013 2:04:46 pm
Awesome scene! Love your birds, and love this one esp. I have a thing for vultures, and hes a really cool guy!

by IgnisSerpentus Homepage »

Apr 4, 2013 5:34:20 am
Great scene and fine info about the species!! :o)

by Rhanagaz Homepage »

Apr 7, 2013 4:23:32 am
superb art work! very realistic, many details and perfect arranged!

by aksirp Homepage »

Apr 13, 2013 10:10:22 am
Fantastic creation... wonderfully done !

by Cyve Homepage »


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