My scientific name is Gyps rueppellii
What I look like
I am a relatively large vulture, and hold the record for the world’s highest flying bird soaring nearly seven miles high. I have an overall grayish to blackish plumage with extensive pale creamy edging on my body feathers that makes me appear scaled or speckled. My wing and tail feathers are dark. I have a white neck ruff, greenish-grey neck, and pale, largely featherless head. I have a pale yellow eye and a strikingly yellowish-orange bill,
with a small black tip. My cere is black.
Where I live
I am found in dry open country on cliffs and gorges, that are normally essential for nesting and roosting. I almost always nest on ledges in cliffs, and generally avoid human settlements. I am found in twenty-six African countries including, Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Djibouti, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Somalia, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, and Uganda. I am occasionally reported in the Congo, Egypt, Sierra Leone, and Zambia.
What I eat
I feed on the carcasses of dead animals. I locate my food by sight, either by scanning the ground directly when soaring above it, or by watching the activities of other vultures searching for food. I have an especially powerful bill and, after the most attractive soft parts of a carcass have been consumed, I sometimes continue to feed on the hide and even the bones.
Recently I have been recorded breeding in Spain.
My Conservation Status
I am less common than previously believed, and am now considered to be Near Threatened. Threats to my population include habitat loss through agricultural conversion, unintentional poisoning, nest disturbance, and direct persecution. I also am exploited for international trade in meat and medicine.