he Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus), also known as the Lammergeier or Lammergeyer, is a bird of prey, and the only member of the genusGypaetus. Traditionally considered an Old World vulture, it actually forms a minor lineage of Accipitridae together with the Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus), its closest living relative. It is not much more closely related to the Old World vultures proper than to, for example, hawks, and differs from the former by its feathered neck. Although dissimilar, the Egyptian and Bearded Vulture each have a lozenge-shaped tail – unusual among birds of prey.

It eats mainly carrion and lives and breeds on crags in high mountains in southern Europe, the Caucasus,Africa, the Indian Subcontinent, andTibet, laying one or two eggs in mid-winter that hatch at the beginning of spring. Populations are resident. This bird is 94–125 cm (37–49 in) long with a wingspan of 2.31–2.83 m (7.6–9.3 ft). It weighs 4.5–7.8 kg (9.9–17.2 lb), with the nominate race averaging 6.21 kg (13.7 lb) and G. b. meridionalis of Africa averaging 5.7 kg (13 lb).In Eurasia, vultures found around the Himalayas tend to be slightly larger than those from other mountain ranges.Females are slightly larger than males.

(via dezzoi)


The spotted handfish (Brachionichthys hirsutus), an amazing creature that walks the ocean floor, is a rare Australian fish from the family Brachionichthyidae. It is classified as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List 2002. is the first Australian marine species to be threatened with extinction.

The greatest threats to the handfish appear to be siltation and invasive species. The Derwent Estuary where the fish lives is highly urbanised and industrialised, and a range of marine pests have been introduced through shipping.  One key pest is the Northern Pacific Seastar (Asterias amurensis), a particularly large and voracious predator that is now abundant in the estuary. Studies by CSIRO show that the seastars eat the stalked ascidians that the handfish use to attach their eggs.

(via earthandanimals)