Cool African Vulture Facts

Vulture hopping comically - Photo Mandy Schroder
Vulture hopping comically – Photo Mandy Schroder

1. Heavy  Weights    

Vultures soar beautifully on thermals, but actually don’t fly well at all.  They are just too heavy; nature being as wonderful as it is allows them to use thermals to soar over distances of up to 150km.

2. Eye Spy

Vultures rely on their sight for all sorts of details from finding food sources to recognising the fact that other vultures may have found a thermal.

3. Waste Disposal

Vultures are the only true scavengers in Africa; they NEVER hunt their own food.

Opened egg - VulPro. Photo Walter Neser
Opened egg – VulPro. Photo Walter Neser

4.Only Yolking

They only lay one egg every year.

5. Lunch Break

A vulture can eat up to one kg of meat in a sitting (that is 10% of their bodyweight)

6. Necessity is the mother of Invention

Eqyptian vultures eat ostrich eggs and actually use rocks or sticks to break their thick shells.

7. Fast Food or Sit Down

Vulture restaurants have been set up to create safe feeding sites to help save our vultures.  Tourists find them a fantastic opportunity to take photos and sit and enjoy these amazing funny birds.

8. The African White-backed Vulture

Is the most common scavenger of the Masai Mara.  They are very sociable and feed in very large groups numbering in the hundreds.

9. Ruppell’s vulture

They can be identified by their white streaked feathers and yellow beak.

Lappet-faced Vulture @ VulPro Vulture Restaurant. Photo Mandy Schroder
Lappet-faced Vulture @ VulPro Vulture Restaurant. Photo Mandy Schroder

10. Lappet-faced vultures

Are one of the biggest vultures, they get their name from their bald, red heads.  They travel in pairs and are dominant over all other vultures

 11. White headed-vulture

Is one of the rarest vultures of the Masai Mara. Smaller than the Lappet-faced these red beaked, pale faced birds are shy and solitary.

12. Hooded vultures

One of the smallest vultures and pick from the edge of the carcass.  Their diet is more varied than the other vultures, sometimes eating the dung of other animals or feeding at garbage sites.

13. Muti and Magic

The vulture is a powerful symbol of wisdom and far sight, no doubt linked to their extraordinary sight.  Sangomas have long revered them and owning a vulture head is said to bestow their strengths on the wearer.  Fortunately for vultures, people are better educated and realise the damage caused to wild vulture populations by killing them for muti.

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