South East Wales

Bearded vulture spotted near Severn Bridge

The lammergeier has been reintroduced to the Alps and Pyrenees Image copyright Thinkstock
Image caption The lammergeier has been reintroduced to the Alps and Pyrenees

A rare bearded vulture has been spotted near the second Severn Crossing at Sudbrook, Monmouthshire.

The lammergeier vulture was seen on 12 May perched on rocks near the bridge, then flew east before heading west.

If confirmed as a wild bird, it will be the first time the species has been spotted in Britain.

The same bird is also thought to have been seen on Dartmoor, Devon and in Belgium.

It is thought that fewer than 10,000 pairs exist in the wild worldwide, and it is most commonly found in Ethiopia.

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Media caption'I thought it was going to pick up my dog'

'Prehistoric'

Dale Kedward filmed the lammergeier as he was walking his dog.

He said: "It looked like something prehistoric. I thought it was going to pick up my dog, it was that big."

The bearded vulture, which has a wingspan of up to 9.3ft (2.83m), lives and breeds in high mountains in southern Europe, the Caucasus, Africa, the Indian subcontinent, and Tibet.

The species was wiped out in Europe, but has been successfully reintroduced to the Spanish Pyrenees and the Swiss and Italian Alps.

However, according to the Gwent birding website, the bird spotted in Monmouthshire had no obvious signs of the bleached flight feathers common to reintroduced birds - which would suggest that it is wild.

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