Kenya Birds

Lappet-faced Vulture


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Lappet-faced Vulture

Photograph(s) Copyright İP&H HARRIS

Torgos tracheliotus

Other Pics: Lappet-faced Vulture

Other Names

  English Nubian Vulture, African Black Vulture, King Vulture   French Vautour oricou   German Ohrengeier   Spanish Buitre Orejudo   Swedish Örongam   Dutch Oorgier   Italian Avvoltoio orecchiuto

World: S Israel and the Arabian Peninsula and in Africa from Senegambia east to Ethiopia and Somalia then S through Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania to eastern Zaire. Below 15°S found throughout the continent except the southernmost tip of South Africa.

Kenya: Found in open country up to 3000m, absent from the high rainfall areas in the W, densely forested regions and also from the coast.

This is a large, broad winged Vulture with a very large and powerful beak. Other vultures often rely on Lappet-faced Vultures to open a carcass, they are also able to utilise parts of the body (skin, ligaments and bones) which other raptors can't eat. They occur in pairs on relatively small territories although they may gather in larger numbers around a big kill or at water holes. It is primarily a scavenger but it will kill small mammals if it needs to. Unlike a number of other African species it doesn't take human refuse and so isn't to be found around human habitation. This photograph was taken at a Wildebeest carcass in the Maasai Mara in August 2001. The Lappet-faced Vulture used its bulk and attacking flight display to chase other birds off and so dominate the kill.

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