Well over fifty species of birds have been positively identified in the Simien Mountains National Park. This includes an unusually large number of birds of prey and carrion-eaters. One of the most spectacular of these is the Lammergeyer, or Bearded Vulture. This magnificent bird with its three-meter wing spread is unusually common in the Semien, though it is found also in other parts of Africa, Asia and Europe. Its diet makes it one of nature’s rare phenomena: it eats bones and bone marrow. When an animal dies, the lammergeyer waits until the bones have been picked clean by other scavengers, and then it eats the smaller bones. The bigger bones it carries away. To a flat, rocky spot over which it sails like a bomber and drops the bone from a height sufficient to shatter it to bits. When the bone is broken to manageable size, the lammergeyer eats the pieces.
Lammergeyers have been known to fly as high as 25,000 feet in the Himalayas, and they have been clocked at 79.5
miles per hour flying speed.
The Augur Buzzard is another species commonly seen in the national park. It occurs in several color variations. Adults are characterized by dark gray or almost black upper pararoak, like a frog with asthma. It often frequents campsites, looking for garbage. It may be joined there by some related birds, the Fan-Tailed Ravens, Cape Rooks and Pied Crows.