I am an adult White-backed Vulture

African White-Backed Vulture Colouring In Picture
African White-Backed Vulture Colouring In Picture

My scientific name is Gyps africanus

What I look like
I am a medium-sized vulture. As an adult my head is a wonderful mix of colours. My face is generally pink, but can flush to red when I am excited, including when I am feeding on a carcass with other vultures. My cere and gape are pale powder blue, and my bill is bright orange. I have blackish eyes and legs. I have a white rump patch and white neck ruff. My plumage is brownish to cream colored.

Where I live
I am a lowland species of open wooded savanna, and particularly enjoy Acacia trees. I nest in tall trees. I am social and gather with other vultures at large carcasses, as well as when flying in thermals and at night-time roosts. I am found in thirty-seven African countries including, Angola, Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Burundi, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Kenya, Malawi, Mali, Mauritania, Mozambique, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Swaziland, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, Zambia, and Zimbabwe. I am occasionally reported in Liberia.

What I eat
I eat the intestines and soft flesh of large dead mammals. I cannot tear thick skin but my long bill and neck, and my narrow head allow me to plunge deep into carcasses at openings and wounds.

Fun Fact
I am very social and often feed together with dozens of other White-backed Vultures.

My Conservation Status
I am considered to be Near Threatened. My population has declined recently in parts of my range because of habitat loss, declines in populations of wild mammals, unintentional poisoning, and direct persecution. I also am hunted for trade in parts of Africa. In South Africa, for example, I am caught and consumed for perceived medicinal and psychological
benefits.

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