Bearded Vultures are very impressive birds - not only because of their piercing red-yellow eyes, tufts of black hair-like feathers under their beaks (the so-called 'beard') but also because of their size. They can grow up to 4ft tall with a wingspan of 7-9ft. Their uniqueness however lies in their diet. They are the only living bird species that specializes in feeding from bone marrow which forms three quarters of their diet. They easily break brittle bones with their powerful beaks, and the pieces swallowed whole immediately get digested by their extremely strong stomach acids. With bones too big to swallow whole they have mastered a special skill. They will fly up to heights of 160- 490ft from where they will drop the bones to shatter on rocks below. This is a skill that immature bearded vultures will take up to 7 years to master. In South Africa they can only be found in the high Maluti-Drakensberg mountain range. After my husband visited the special birdhide for three years in a row, he was only rewarded with landings of these impressive bearded vultures on his third visit. These magnificent "old world vultures" continue to decline in numbers due to habitat loss and degradation, together with human-raptor conflict.