IUCN threat status:

Vulnerable (VU)

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Biology

As a scavenger, the Cape vulture feeds mainly on carrion. They are gregarious birds, nesting and roosting in colonies on cliffs. When searching for food they form a foraging net across the sky, watching each other as they search large areas to locate a suitable carcass (5) (6). This can require travelling great distances, since the death of animals is unpredictable, (both in timing and location), and farmers in southern Africa often bury carcasses to avoid the spread of disease (6). Many vultures may collect at a carcass, which can lead to an eventful feeding time, with fighting, threat displays and some even inserting their long neck under the skin or crawling into the rib-cage of the dead animal (5). Cape vulture nests are built in colonies, with up to 1000 breeding pairs building stick platforms lined with grass, on cliff ledges. A single egg is laid between April and July, and both parents take turns with care of the egg and the chick. Fledging occurs after an average of 140 days, and Cape vultures are known to live for over 30 years (7) (8).

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Source: ARKive

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