The Lappet-faced vulture has the largest wingspan of any vulture in Africa!
This is a very large vulture with square shaped wings. Despite being widely distributed across Africa and the Middle East, the Lappet-faced Vulture has a small and rapidly declining population.
The Lappet-faced Vulture is a social species, with individuals often congregating from miles around to feed on carcasses. It is thought that this species home range may be between 80-150 km2. Old World vultures of the subfamily Aegypiinae, such as the Lappet-faced Vulture, split from all other birds around 35 million years ago, long before the evolution of apes!
The main threats to this species are from accidental poisoning by farmers from poisons to control predators (both strychnine and carbofuran). Other threats are from nest predation by humans, decreased food availability due to declines in wild ungulates, and electrocution. Habitat modification and disturbance also threaten the species.
This species is listed on CITES Appendix II and conservation and research actions have been proposed to clarify the population size and decline, but further research is required.
- Order: Accipitriformes
- Family: Accipitridae
- Population: 5700
- Trend: decreasing
- Size: 78-115cm (?)
Widespread across Africa and the Middle East.
Habitat and Ecology
This species inhabits dry savanna, arid plains, desserts and open mountain slopes up to 3500 m. This vulture is predominantly a scavenger generally feeding on large carcasses, but is known to hunt small reptiles, fish, birds and mammals. The Lappet-faced Vulture builds solitary nests containing just one egg from 6 years old.