Saturday, November 6, 2010

African White-backed Vulture at Busch Gardens

African White-backed Vulture

The White-backed Vulture (Gyps africanus) is an Old World vulture in the family Accipitridae, which also includes eagles, kites, buzzards and hawks. It is closely related to the European Griffon Vulture, G. fulvus. Sometimes it is called African White-backed Vulture to distinguish it from the Oriental White-backed Vulture—nowadays usually called Indian White-rumped Vulture--to which it was formerly believed to be closely related.

The White-backed Vulture is a typical vulture, with only down feathers on the head and neck, very broad wings and short tail feathers. It has a white neck ruff. The adult’s whitish back contrasts with the otherwise dark plumage. Juveniles are largely dark. This is a medium-sized vulture; its body mass is 4.2 to 7.2 kilograms (9.3–16 lb), it is 94 cm (37 in) long and has a 218 cm (86 in) wingspan. White-backed Vulture, Gyps africanus

Like other vultures it is a scavenger, feeding mostly from carcasses of animals which it finds by soaring over savannah. It also takes scraps from human habitations. It often moves in flocks. It breeds in trees on the savannah of west and east Africa, laying one egg. The population is mostly resident.

As it is rarer than previously believed, its conservation status was reassessed from Least Concern to Near Threatened in the 2007 IUCN Red List.

Photograph by Craig Glenn at Busch Gardens Tampa.

Thanks for stopping by,

Craig Glenn


Sandi McBride said...

I love birds and learning more about them is a breeze in here. I remember from history in school (a thousand and one years ago) that Benjamin Franklin wanted our national bird to be the Turkey Buzzard! Thanksgiving tables might look a whole lot different had he had his way!

Country Mouse Studio said...

he's actually kind of pretty compared to the other vultures.

SAPhotographs (Joan) said...

Vultures are such ugly birds!! :)

It is quite strange to see you posting something from here. These Busch Gardens seem to have almost every species on earth there. :)

The Write Girl said...

Thanks for sharing the African vulture Craig. Great stuff as always. It's a shame how many species are endangered. It's quite alarming and I hope there are ways to preserve them.
Take Care.