- Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, B.L. Sullivan, C. L. Wood, and D. Roberson. 2012. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.7. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/downloadable-clements-checklist
Habitat and Ecology
IUCN Red List Assessment
Red List Category
Red List Criteria
CITES Appendix II. CMS Appendix II. It is legally protected throughout its range. Some breeding colonies lie within protected areas1. Non-governmental organisations have successfully raised awareness among farming communities in South Africa of the plight of this species1. Many nestlings of this species were colour-ringed in southern Africa in the 1970s and 1980s17. The national electricity supplier in South Africa has replaced pylons in some regions with a design that reduces electrocution risk to large birds1. Supplementary feeding at vulture restaurants may have helped to slow declines in some areas1. The establishment of a restaurant at Nooitgedacht, South Africa, is thought to have helped promote the recolonisation of the former colony there, and another restaurant has possibly contributed the species's recovery in Magaliesberg24, although the extent of the species's dependence on such artificial food sources is yet to be studied in depth23,24. Supplementary feeding is known to significantly increase the survival rate of first-year birds in the Western Cape Province of South Africa15. In October 2005, 16 birds from South Africa were released in Namibia and, although at least two have perished18 and one was taken into care with a companion19, data on flight patterns and breeding behaviour have been recorded from two birds that were fitted with satellite transmitters16. By 2006, five birds had been fitted with satellite tracking collars18. In Namibia, both communal and commercial farmers have been educated about the benefits that vultures bring and thus the disadvantages of poisoning carcasses, whilst there is also an education centre and education programme for schools18. A conservation workshop for the species was held in March 2006 and was attended by 19 individuals19. The group reassessed the status of the species and the threats it faces, and decided on conservation actions. A task force was established and people were identified to manage conservation actions for each of the key colonies in southern Africa. A press release was circulated in March 2006 raising awareness of the dangers of using diclofenac in the treatment of cattle. In 2006, the re-establishment of monitoring was expected at the species's only colony in Zimbabwe19. A press release was circulated in July 2007 to raise awareness of the impacts of hunting for medicinal and cultural reasons in southern Africa22. The threat posed by anti-inflammatory drugs in southern Africa is under investigation27. An expert workshop on the species's conservation was held in South Africa in March 200628. Conservation Actions Proposed
Protect breeding colonies1, and prevent uninhibited access by tourists to nesting sites3. Mitigate impacts from poisoning and electrocution1. Increase availability of livestock carcasses to G. coprotheres in areas where current practices do not allow this. Develop conservation partnerships with the farming community1. Investigate the burgeoning exploitation for traditional medicine1. Reduce hunting for medicinal and cultural reasons22. Monitor food availability, especially through the nestling period. Carry out a complete survey of its breeding sites1. Continue population monitoring and demographic studies1. Conduct research to assess the potential impact of climate change compared with other threats20. Raise awareness amongst pastoralists of the dangers of using Diclofenac for livestock29. Lobby governments to outlaw the sale of Diclofenac for veterinary purposes29.
The Cape Griffon or Cape Vulture (Gyps coprotheres), also known as Kolbe's Vulture, is an Old World vulture in the family Accipitridae, which also includes eagles, kites, buzzards and hawks. It is endemic to southern Africa, and is found mainly in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana and in some parts of northern Namibia. It nests on cliffs and lays one egg per year.
This large vulture is dark brown except for the pale wing coverts. The adult is paler than the juvenile, and its underwing coverts can appear almost white at a distance. The average length is about 96–115 cm (38–45 in) with a wingspan of 2.26–2.6 m (7.4–8.5 ft) and a body weight of 7–11 kg (15–24 lb). They are on average the largest raptor in Africa, although they are subservient to the powerful Lappet-faced Vulture. After the Himalayan Griffon Vulture and the Cinereous Vulture the Cape vulture is the third largest Old World Vulture. The two prominent bare skin patches at the base of the neck, also found in the White-backed Vulture, are thought to be temperature sensors and used for detecting the presence of thermals.
The species is listed by the IUCN as "Vulnerable", the major problems it faces being poisoning, disturbance at breeding colonies and powerline electrocution. The current population is estimated at 8,000.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Gyps coprotheres". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature.
- Raptors of the World by Ferguson-Lees, Christie, Franklin, Mead & Burton. Houghton Mifflin (2001), ISBN 0-618-12762-3
- vulture facts- Arkive.org (2011).