Ruppell´s Griffon vulture - Birds

Ruppell´s Griffon vulture - map of occurrence

Ruppell´s Griffon vulture

Gyps rueppellii

conservation status Near Threatened

Weight: 7-9kg (15-20lb)
Wingspan: 2.6m (8ft - 9ft)
Body lenght: 85-97cm ( ft in- ft in)
Wild population: max. 30.000 individuals
Lifespan: years
Gestation: months, chicks
Identification mottled brown or black overall with a whitish-brown underbelly and thin, dirty-white fluff covering the head and neck, the base of the neck has a white collar, the eye is yellow or amber, the crop patch deep chocolate-brown
Range: throughout the Sahel from Senegal, Gambia and Mali to Sudan and Ethiopia and south to Kenya, Tanzania and Mozambique.
Habitat: open areas of Acacia woodland, grassland and montane regions

Protecting organisations:

Rüppell's Vultures are highly social, roosting, nesting, and gathering to feed in large flocks. They can travel fast at need, cruising at up to 35 km/h, and will fly as far as 150 km from a nest site to find food. They can reach great heights, 6,000 m (20,000 ft) is not uncommon, and on one exceptional occasion, an aircraft over the Côte d'Ivoire collided with a Rüppell's Vulture at the astonishing altitude of 11,300 m (37,000 ft), the current record avian height.[2] They have a specialized variant of the hemoglobin alphaD subunit; this protein has a high affinity for oxygen, which allows the species to take up oxygen efficiently despite the low partial pressure in the upper troposphere.
They are creatures of the more arid and mountainous areas of Africa: particularly semi-desert and the fringes of deserts. They roost on inaccessible rock ledges if these are available, or in trees, usually Acacia. When thermal updrafts start to develop enough lift, about two hours after sunrise, Rüppell's Vultures leave the roost and begin to patrol over the plains, using their exceptionally keen eyesight to find large animal carcasses, or carnivores which have made a kill. They will wait, several days if necessary, until a carnivore leaves a carcass. They have been known to take live prey on occasion, but this is rare.
Rüppell's Vultures have several adaptations to their diet and are specialized feeders even among the Old World vultures of Africa. They have an especially powerful bill and, after the most attractive soft parts of a carcass have been consumed, they will continue with the hide, and even the bones, gorging themselves until they can barely fly. They have backward-facing splines on the tongue to help remove meat from bone.
Rüppell's Griffin Vulture is named in honor of the 19th-century German explorer, collector and zoologist Eduard Rüppell.
The species is threatened by habitat loss through agricultural conversion, incidental poisoning, persecution and at least historically, the loss of wild ungulates. In 2007, Diclofenac, a non-steriodal anti-inflammatory drug often used for livestock, and which is fatal to Gyps spp. when ingested at livestock carcasses, was found to be on sale at a veterinary practice in Tanzania.

Ruppell´s Griffon vulture (Gyps rueppellii) -
Ruppell´s Griffon vulture (Gyps rueppellii) - Ruppell´s Griffon vulture (Gyps rueppellii) - Ruppell´s Griffon vulture (Gyps rueppellii) - Ruppell´s Griffon vulture (Gyps rueppellii) - Ruppell´s Griffon vulture (Gyps rueppellii) -
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camera:Minolta DYNAX 7D
lens:Sigma 50-500 mm F4.0-6.3 APO EX DG
focal length:420 mm
exposure time:1/200 s
stativ:Manfrotto Nature 190 + MA 322RC 2
location:Masai Mara, Kenya