1. How long can a griffon live? A griffon vulture in captivity can live up to 40-60 years while in the wild an individual lives an average of as much as 20-30 years.
  2. How many eggs does a griffon lay? The female lays just one egg a year. If the egg is laid fairly early (January-February) and by chance is predated then she may re-lay another. If it is laid later (in March) and “something goes wrong” then the bird ‘loses’ the year.
  3. Where does the griffon vulture nest? It nests in cavities and on cliff ledges.
  4. At what age does lays its first egg? Sexual maturity is reached at the fourth or fifth year of age.
  5. What is the difference between the male and female griffon? In griffon there is no sexual dimorphism in that there are no differences in weight, size, colour …
  6. How big is a griffon? A griffon’s wingspan reaches about 2.50 to 2.80 metres (8 or 9 feet) and it has a weight ranging from 7 to 11 kg (15 to 25 lbs.).
  7. How long does the griffon take to reach maximum size? In about four months a young griffon reaches its maximum size and is ready to fly.
  8. What does a griffon eat? The griffon vulture is a vulture and therefore feeds on carcasses of medium and large animals. Given that in nature vultures would have great difficulty finding their food, an area of the reserve was fenced to create a feeding site, called the “carnaio”, that is constantly replenished throughout the year with large wild mammals (such as deer, wild boar) involved in accidents or that have died by drowning as well as pigs that have died on the farm and therefore have been eliminated from the human foodchain together with carcasses discarded by slaughterhouses.
  9. How much does a griffon eat? A griffon may remain for long periods without eating (20-30 days) as it is difficult to find a carcass in nature, but when it finds the carcass it tries to eat as much meat as possible and may consume as much as 1.8-2.0 kg (4-4.5 lbs) of meat that is held in the crop, a kind of bag at the base of the neck.
  10. How does it find its food? The griffon moves in groups in search of food taking advantage of its particularly acute vision.
  11. Why was the griffon actually reintroduced at Cornino? Griffon was a nesting species until the last century in Friuli but even after its disappearance as a breeding species it nevertheless continued to frequent the area during the summer.
  12. How many griffons are there in the area now? The Cornino colony holds about 150 griffons. This number may rise to 250 individuals in the spring and summer months when many individuals arrive from other colonies.
  13. Is the griffon a migratory species? Adults are usually sedentary while the young birds may make movements of varying scale.
  14. What ‘is the best time to see the griffons flying free? To see the griffons free and feeding it is better to come to the reserve in the morning because at this time of day the air currents form, that, once they have finished feeding, favour the birds’ flight. To see larger numbers of griffons it is better to come during the spring and summer months (see question 12).
  15. Are the griffons resident at Cornino? The griffons of the Cornino colony are attached to the reserve and its “carnaio” but the area that they commonly frequent is a triangular area whose vertices are the towns of Cornino, Venzone and Verzegnis. Sometimes they can make long journeys.
  16. What is the best time to come and visit the reserve? The reserve is an area where nature is protected in all its aspects and in every season it has something to offer (in spring colours explode whilst in spring and summer you can see many griffons, in autumn the Mediterranean vegetation at the edge of its distributional range offers beautiful colour contrasts whilst the winter quiet calms tempers).
  17. What is the closest point to view and photograph the griffons while feeding? The closest point is the visitor centre from where the reserve staff also monitor the birds. If you arrive before the opening of the visitor centre you can see them from the observatory which is located across the wooden bridge along the trail to the lake.
  18. Can griffons attack human beins or my dog? Absolutely not. The griffon is a vulture, that is to say it does not hunt but feeds on dead animals and therefore its structure does not allow it to launch an attack. It is also a extremely suspicious and fearful bird and if disturbed it flies off, interrupting the delicate feeding phase.
  19. How fast do griffons fly? The flight of the griffon vulture is termed soaring and they exploit wind currents. The maximum documented speed is 150 kph (90 mph).
  20. At what altitude do griffons fly? Griffon generally do not fly so high, about 100-300 m above the ground. The maximum height registered, however, is about 4000m above sea level, reached in the mountains of the High Tauern National Park in Austria.
  21. Is the griffon a solitary animal? No, it is a gregarious species that live in colonies, often numerous.
  22. Are there other types of vultures at the Reserve of Cornino? During spring a few specimens of Egyptian vulture and cinereous (or black) vulture pass through.
  23. Why are the animals “housed” in aviaries? The animals housed in the aviaries have been forced into captivity due to impairments that prevent them from flying or getting food or because they seek contact with humans that they recognize as their own species (the phenomenon known as imprinting).