Bearded Vulture

The return of the bearded vulture to the Alps.

Originally widespread in the mountains of Africa, Asia and Europe, the bearded vulture became extinct in the Alps at the beginning of the 20th century. Between 1986 and 2023, a total of 251 young birds (as of 2023, International Bearded Vulture Monitoring IBM) were released in the Alps as part of a reintroduction project to establish a population capable of surviving without human intervention. Since the first successful breeding in 1997, 461 young birds have hatched in the wild in the Alps (as of 2023, IBM). Extensive reintroduction efforts will continue to ensure that the bearded vulture population in the Alps is once again large and genetically diverse enough to survive in the long term.

The current population in the Alps is around 300 - 400 bearded vultures (as of 2023, IBM), while there are between 1,675 and 6,700 bearded vultures worldwide (Eurasia, Africa) (as of 2021, IUCN Red List).

The successful reintroduction of the bearded vulture in the Alps demonstrates the resilience of nature and the potential for positive change through targeted action. With continued efforts, we can ensure that these impressive birds establish a stable population in the Alps in the long term. Our collective efforts are crucial for a promising future in which the bearded vulture is once again native to the Alps and its natural habitat is secured.


The international bearded vulture counting days will take place in October this year. All interested parties are invited to go on a mountain hike in the days from 12 to 20 October 2024 and keep an eye out for bearded vultures. The focus of the observation days is on SA, 12 October (focus time: 9:00-15:00). So if you are out and about in the Ötztal Nature Park in October, please report your sightings to