White-backed Vulture… The Bush Cleaner..

White-backed Vulture (Gyps africanus)

The White-backed Vulture is a typical vulture, with only down feathers on the head and neck, very broad wings and short tail feathers. It has a white neck ruff. The adult’s whitish back contrasts with the otherwise dark plumage. Juveniles are largely dark. This is a medium-sized vulture; its body mass is 4.2 to 7.2 kilograms (9.3–16 lb.), it is 78 to 98 cm (31 to 39 in) long and has a 1.96 to 2.25 m (6 to 7 ft.) wingspan.

It is rarer than previously believed, its conservation status was reassessed from Least Concern to Near Threatened in the 2007 IUCN Red List.  In 2012 it was further listed to Endangered.

Like other vultures it is a scavenger, feeding mostly from carcasses of animals which it finds by soaring overhead. It also takes scraps from human habitations.

Kalagadi 1043

Kalagadi 1022

Kalagadi 926

Kalagadi 074

Kalagadi 071

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48 thoughts on “White-backed Vulture… The Bush Cleaner..

  1. for some reason, my response to this post ended up on your post about your software!!! If you are scratching your head, so am I! But, I repeat – I like vultures for themselves, powerful in myth & metaphor, unlovely birds, majestic in flight – all of that. And yes, cleaners 🙂 Great photos 🙂

  2. he is very healthy looking, obviously no shortage of chow, I see some across the street from me occasionally, they are red and black, great shots!

    • I’m sure they will their status change I think is because no one has done a check lately… “you still see them in the air so why worry…” being the attitude at present…

  3. I can’t say it’s an attractive bird, but vultures have gotten a bad wrap for years. We need scavengers like this to clean up the place. In flight they are spectacular 😀

  4. Super pictures of a … shall we say, less popular? … bird species. I was going to comment on their flying poetry in motion, but I see arsifrtsy got in ahead of me on that. Have you any reasonably close-up flying vulture pictures?

    • How true.. their flight is what makes me so interested in them… being a flying lover, and watching the big military C15 the McDonnell-Douglas coming into land… I’m sure the designer of that plane watched the vulture when they came in to land… I think that is why that plane has such a short landing and takeoff .. someone copied the bird…

    • When I lived in Lydenburg they had one there which I often visited… it was fascinating to watch how these birds could clean up a carcass in no time what so ever… they would then charge down hill to get enough speed up to take off… a wonderful learning curve for me…

  5. That will scare the life out me … a city girl. *smile – but the nature needs their’s “bin men” too.
    Wish you and the little wife a pleasant weekend.

    • Oh that they are… when one witnesses them ripping open a skin you realise how strong and how sharp their beaks must be,….
      I was at a golf course for business the other day and this Lady was sitting waiting for someone… if it wasn’t you it must be a sister.. she looked just like your photo… I nearly asked but didn’t want to make an ass of myself…

  6. I can’t imagine how messy the earth would be without scavengers, and yet, I don’t like them. We need them, but I don’t like them, I guess the thought of them sitting in a tree waiting for me to die is what bothers me most. 😉
    I hope these guys don’t die out. Too many species are going that way.

    • Thank you.. I agree not the best looking bird in the nest.. but on the wing I think they are the most graceful fliers around… once in my friends micro-lite we flew near and with a few vultures rising on the hot air… this was like experiencing flight at it’s best… absolute perfect fliers and of course the sight many would like to have…

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