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hooded vulture

Birds of Namibia

Introduction: Hooded vultures (Necrosyrtes monachus) inhabit savannah and well-developed woodlands such as mopane and jackalberry. Roosting is in a tree at night, usually singly. They leave this locations up to an hour before larger vultures do, presumably to get to the action first.

Distribution: Caprivi, Etosha National Park, Okavango Delta and Moremi Game Reserve.

Diet: A scavenger of great renown as it will risk pecking between a hyena's legs for scraps of carrion. Eats offal, bones, human excrement and recent lion droppings. Picks off maggots and other insects from old carcasses and fish stranded in pools of water.

Description: Small vulture with slender bill, long and horizontal nostrils. Long and broad wings with a short tail. Lacks sharp claws. Plumage is dark brown. Monachus is a Latin for 'a monk' referring to their hooded appearance. Necrosyrtes is a combination of 2 Greek words; Nekros 'a corpse' and surtes 'pulling' a reference to their scavenging habits of carrying away chunks of dead meat.

Breeding: A well-built platform of sticks is formed into a cup shape and lined some dry grass and lots of green leaves. Only 1 large egg is laid between June and August and incubated for up to 54 days. Both male and female work a shift system during this period.

Size: 70cm. Weight: 2kg. Wingspan: 1.8m.

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