The following are illustrations included in my 2005 field guide to Raptors and Owls of Georgia (Buneba Print) – which includes all the then-known diurnal and nocturnal birds of prey found in the nation of the Caucasus Region. The book was produced in collaboration with the Georgian Center for the Conservation of Wildlife – a BirdLife International affiliate, and was coauthored by Lexo Gavashelishvili and Zura Javakhishvili. The gallery below also includes some of the sketches created in preparation for the guide during the fall of 2004. Only some of the book’s illustrations of vultures are shown here.
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Ravens are among the first attracted to carrion, followed closely by Egyptian Vultures. Unable to tear the skin with ease, they eat out the eyes and soft parts. Soon, Griffons arrive attracted by encircling birds. Cinereous Vultures arrive last in smaller numbers, waiting at the periphery for a chance to feed.
The Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius monachus) depicted in juvenile plumage (top) and two adult variants.
The lower half of the Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) plate in the “Raptors and Owls” guide. It was executed almost entirely from the Davit Garegi Monastery, near the border between Georgia and Azerbaijan.
The Eurasian Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus) depicted in juvenile and adult plumages.
A feeding scene included in a behavior/habitat spread in “Raptors and Owls of Georgia.” Magpies and a young Egyptian Vulture discover the carrion. When Griffons congregate in low numbers, Cinereous Vultures dominate the feeding, and the hungrier birds aggressively defend the carcass while all others wait.
Thumbnails included in a behavior/habitat spread in “Raptors and Owls of Georgia.” A colony of Griffons nesting in semi-desert mountain caves. The nest is often no more than twigs and branches lining a ledge.
An adult Lammergeier (Gypaetus barbatus). This “bearded vulture” acquires its orange coloration by wallowing in iron-rich springs and mud.
Adult and juvenile Lammergeiers depicted in flight.
Graphite and watercolor thumbnails included in the upper portion of the species’ plate, depicting some of the flight attitudes of this large vulture.
Images included in the upper portion of the Egyptian Vulture plate, depicting four ages/plumages of the species.
If you are interested in any of these works, either the originals or prints, please contact Rafael at GalvezBirds@gmail.com
Raptors and Owls of Georgia was the first comprehensive field guide to the birds of prey recorded in this mountainous country, describing 45 species including breeding birds, seasonal residents, migrants, and uncommon visitors.
The book is available for sale through the following distributors: NHBS (UK), Buteo Book (U.S.) and Amazon.
Some of these illustrations were also included in Lexo Gavashelishvili’s excellent book, Vultures of Georgia and the Caucasus (Buneba Print, 2005).