IUCN threat status:

Vulnerable (VU)

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The lappet-faced vulture is primarily a scavenger, preferring to feed on the carcasses of smaller animals such as gazelle and hares (2) (7). Unusually for vultures, however, this species also occasionally hunts and kills live prey, including small mammals and birds such as flamingos, in addition to feeding opportunistically on eggs, and possibly termites and locusts (6) (11). Although normally found alone or in pairs, these birds will sometimes congregate around large food sources or water holes, with up to 50 individuals seen in exceptional cases, although groups do not usually exceed ten (9). Being much more powerful and aggressive than other vulture species, and of dominating size, the lappet-faced vulture will often scare off or steal from smaller vultures (7) (9). When mating, pairs often build only one nest, although it is also normal to have one to three nests that are used alternately, and these nests are used year after year. The breeding season varies across this bird's extensive range. Generally, those in East Africa breed throughout the year (9), while those in southern Africa probably mate in May, and breed from May until mid-summer when the chicks fledge (10), and those in the extreme north of the range mate from November to July (sometimes to September). One egg per clutch is usual, which is then incubated for 54 to 56 days by both parents (9). Although the chick fledges at 125 to 135 days, they continue to remain dependent on their parents for quite some time (5) (9). Despite being independent from their parents, young usually take six years before they will begin to breed themselves (9).


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Source: ARKive


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