Cape Vulture

Introduction: Cape vultures (Gyps coprotheres) typically inhabit a wide range of areas that are linked to communal grazing such as farms or national parks. Groups of 100 are common with smaller flocks roosting on trees and power lines/pylons as well gathering on cliffs. Will only fly at night during a full moon.

Distribution: Etosha National Park, Waterberg Plateau and areas of central Namibia.

Diet: Arrives at a carcass in large numbers, dominating other species except for the lappet-faced vultures. Uses bill and tongue to slice off flesh before swallowing quickly.

Description: Large vulture with brown plumage and paler underparts. Tail blackish brown. Has long powerful bill, distinctive hooked tip with sharp cutting edges. Sharp serrations on the stiff and channelled tongue allow for rapid feeding. The blunt claws on strong legs allow the feet to adapt for walking not grasping of prey. Coprotheres is a combination of 2 Greek words, kopros 'dung or faeces' and theres 'hunting'.

Breeding: Only 1 egg is laid between May and June on a platform-type nest built of twigs, sticks and dried grass. Incubation period is around 55 days.

Size: 1.2m

Weight: 9kg.

Wingspan: 2.5m.

Birds of Namibia Wildlife of Namibia

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