Vulture …

East Africa has seven species of vulture. They are  members of the Accipitridae the family that includes eagles, buzzards, hawks and some of the kites. They are united by the fact that they live mainly on carrion but they are not necessarily each others closest relatives within the family. They are unrelated to the New World Vultures and Condors that evolved separately in the Americas to look quite similar.

Like a lot of heavy birds in warm climates they prefer to wait until the sun has cooked up a few thermals before they take to the wing. Then it’s time to hunt for the day’s meal which they find by sight.

Lappet-faced Vulture waiting for the thermals

It’s not difficult for a human to find dead animals in the savanna – just watch the vultures. Initially they all seem to be going the same way. As you get closer they’re converging from all points of the compass.

Hooded Vulture

There were more than fifty vultures of five different species in this assembly in Kidepo National Park.

Vultures – Kidepo National Park, Uganda

And then the squabbling begins …

Lappet-faced Vultures
White-headed Vulture in the centre

As they get their fill they lumber off.

African White-backed Vulture
Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture

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