Ruppell’s griffon vulture (Gyps rueppelli)
Ruppell's griffon vulture (Gyps rueppelli) is a large Old World vulture. It breeds on cliffs in mountains in North Africa Ethiopia and southern Europe laying one egg per year. It is a migratory bird wintering in Ethiopia the Sahel and southern Africa. Ruppell's griffon vulture is a typical vulture in appearance with a very broad wingspan (2.8 to 3.2 m or 9.2 to 10.5 ft) dark plumage bare head and neck and long wing claws. It is the largest member of its genus with males up to 16 kg (35 lb) and females up to 18 kg (40 lb) in weight.
Ruppell’s griffon vulture flying high
Ruppell's griffon vultures are one of the highest-flying birds in the world often reaching altitudes of over 37,000 feet! These magnificent birds can be found in many parts of Africa including the Serengeti. Griffon vultures use their keen eyesight to spot potential prey from far away. Once they spot an animal that is either dead or dying they will swoop down and feast on the carcass. These vultures play an important role in the ecosystem by helping to clean up dead animals.
Ruppell’s griffon vulture facts
Ruppell's griffon vulture is a large Old World vulture. It breeds on mountains in North Africa the Canary Islands Ethiopia Kenya and Senegal. It is a migratory bird wintering in southern Africa. It is the highest flying bird in the world capable of reaching an altitude of 37,000 feet. Griffon vultures are large birds with a wingspan of up to 2.9 m (9.5 ft) and body weight of up to 11 kg (24 lb).
They have a bare head and neck and a very powerful beak that can rip through flesh. The plumage is mainly light grey with some white on the rump and underparts. The griffon vulture is a scavenger feeding primarily on the carcasses of dead animals which it finds using its keen eyesight.
Ruppell’s griffon vulture size
Ruppell's griffon vultures are one of the largest species of a vulture with a wingspan of up to 3.5 m (11.5 ft) and body weight of up to 11 kg (24 lb). They are found in Africa where they inhabit open grasslands and savannas. Ruppell's griffon vultures feed primarily on carcasses of large mammals although they will also eat smaller animals' eggs and carrion. These vultures play an important role in the ecosystem by helping to clean up carcasses and prevent the spread of disease.
Rüppell’s griffon vulture speed
Rüppell's Griffon Vulture is one of the fastest flying birds in the world reaching speeds of up to 190 km/h (120 mph). The species is named after Eduard Rüppell a German naturalist who was the first to collect specimens of the bird. The vulture is a large raptor with a wingspan of up to 3.2 m (10 ft). It has a grey body and head with a white neck ruff. The Griffon Vulture breeds on rocky cliffs in Africa Europe and Asia. It feeds primarily on carrion but will also eat live prey if necessary.
Ruppell’s griffon vulture habitat
Ruppell's griffon vultures are found in Africa specifically in the countries of Ethiopia Kenya Somalia and Djibouti. Their habitat is generally open savanna or grassland although they will also inhabit mountainous regions. These vultures typically nest on cliffs or in trees and will roost in large groups. Ruppell's griffon vultures are scavengers and primarily feed on the carcasses of animals.
Is Ruppell’s griffon vulture endangered?
It breeds in North Africa the Canary Islands Ethiopia Kenya and Tanzania. The total population has declined by more than 80% since 1950 and continues to decline at an alarming rate. The main reasons for the decline are habitat loss persecution and poisoning. The Ruppell's griffon vulture is now classed as endangered by the IUCN.
How big is a Ruppell’s griffon vulture?
A Ruppell's griffon vulture can have a wingspan of up to 3.5 m (11.5 ft) and weigh up to 11 kg (24 lb) making it one of the largest flying birds. The body length is usually around 1 m (3.3 ft). The plumage is mainly greyish brown with a whitish neck ruff. The head and neck are almost bald and the skin color can range from yellow to orange. The beak is black and the legs are pinkish-grey. Griffon vultures are not particularly agile flyers but they can stay aloft for long periods of time thanks to their large wingspans.
Ruppell’s griffon vulture Reproduction and Development
Ruppell's griffon vultures typically reach sexual maturity at 5 to 6 years of age. They mate for life and pairs will often perform elaborate displays before copulation. These displays include mutual preening sky pointing (both birds stretch their necks up and point their beaks towards the sky) and beak fencing (both birds hold their beaks close together and move them back and forth).
Once copulation has occurred the female will lay a single egg in a scrape on the ground which is then incubated for 45 to 55 days. Both parents take turns incubating the egg as well as feeding the resulting chick. The chick will fledge (leave the nest) at around 105 days old but will still be dependent on its parents for food for several months after that.