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Rüppell's vulture
Rüppell's vulture
or Rüppell's griffon vulture ( Gyps
Gyps
rueppelli) is a large vulture that occurs throughout the Sahel region
Sahel region
of central Africa. The current population of 30,000 is decreasing due to loss of habitat, incidental poisoning, and other factors.[2] Known also as Rüppell's griffon, Rueppell's griffon, Rüppell's griffin vulture, Rueppell's vulture and other variants, it is not to be confused with a different species, the griffon vulture ( Gyps
Gyps
fulvus). Rüppell's vulture is named in honor of Eduard Rüppell, a 19th-century German explorer, collector, and zoologist.[3] Rüppell's vulture
Rüppell's vulture
is considered to be the highest-flying bird, with confirmed evidence of a flight at an altitude of 11,300 metres (37,100 ft) above sea level.[4]

Contents

1 Distribution 2 Description 3 Behavior

3.1 Social 3.2 Feeding 3.3 Reproduction

4 Status 5 Threats 6 See also 7 References 8 External links

Distribution[edit] Their range extends through the Sahel region
Sahel region
of Africa where they can be found in grasslands, mountains, and woodlands. Once considered common in these habitats, the Rüppell's vultures are experiencing steep declines, especially in the Western portion of their range.[5] They are relatively slow birds, cruising at 35 kilometres per hour (22 mph), but fly for 6–7 hours every day and will fly as far as 150 kilometres (93 mi) from a nest site to find food. Description[edit]

Skull

Head of an adult

These are large vultures, noticeably outsizing the closely related white-backed vulture, with which they often occur in the wild. Adults are 85 to 103 cm (33 to 41 in) long,[6][7] with a wingspan of 2.26 to 2.6 metres (7.4 to 8.5 ft), and a weight that ranges from 6.4 to 9 kg (14 to 20 lb).[6][8][9] Both genders look alike: mottled brown or black overall with a whitish-brown underbelly and thin, dirty-white fluff covering the head and neck. The base of the neck has a white collar, the eye is yellow or amber, the crop patch deep brown. The head does not have feathers. This is an adaptation that occurred because of the Rüppell vulture's tendency to stick its head inside of its prey when eating. Without the adaptation, feeding would become extremely messy.[10] Silent as a rule, they become vocal at their nest and when at a carcass, squealing a great deal. Rüppell's vultures commonly fly at altitudes as high as 6,000 metres (20,000 ft).[citation needed] The birds have a specialized variant of the hemoglobin alphaD subunit; this protein has a great affinity for oxygen, which allows the species to absorb oxygen efficiently despite the low partial pressure in the upper troposphere.[11] A Rüppell's vulture
Rüppell's vulture
was confirmed to have been ingested by a jet engine of an airplane flying over Abidjan, Ivory Coast on November 29, 1973 at an altitude of 11,300 m (37,000 ft).[4] During August 2010 a Rüppell's vulture
Rüppell's vulture
escaped a bird of prey site in Scotland, prompting warnings to pilots in the area to watch carefully due to the danger of collision.[12]

G. r. rueppellii Nairobi National Park, Kenya

At a blue wildebeest carcass in a river

G. r. erlangeri in flight Ethiopia

Behavior[edit] Social[edit] Rüppell's vultures are very social, roosting, nesting, and gathering to feed in large flocks. Feeding[edit] Rüppell's vultures have several adaptations to their diet and are specialized feeders even among the Old World vultures of Africa. They have an especially powerful build and, after the most attractive soft parts of a carcass have been consumed, they will continue with the hide, and even the bones, gorging themselves until they can barely fly. They have backward-pointing spikes on the tongue to help remove meat from bone. Despite their size, power and adaptations, they are not the most dominant vulture in their range, which is considered to be the even larger lappet-faced vulture.[13] Reproduction[edit]

Egg

Nestling

This species of vulture is considered to be monogamous, forming lifelong breeding pairs. After courtship the pair will work together to build a nest using sticks, grass, and leaves that they have gathered or stolen from other nests.[14] Rüppell's vultures build these nests on cliffs, and in key breeding areas they are known to nest in large colonies containing hundreds of breeding pairs. Both parents share in incubation of their egg over a period of 55 days. Once the chick hatches, both parents will feed and tend to it for about 150 days when it fledges.[15] Young remain dependent on their parents after fledging, not reaching independence until the next breeding season. During this time they learn how to find and compete for food. Status[edit] Since first being assessed by the International Union for Conservation of Nature during 1988, populations of Rüppell's vulture
Rüppell's vulture
have decreased. The species has been listed with an IUCN Red List
IUCN Red List
status of "near threatened" since 2007 and the IUCN predicts that populations of the species will continue to decrease.[16] From 2012 to 2014 the Rüppell's vulture
Rüppell's vulture
was listed as Endangered, however, in 2015 the species was reassessed and uplisted to Critically Endangered status.[17] The Rüppell's vulture
Rüppell's vulture
is currently listed as an Appendix II species under CITES, which regulates the international trade of animals and plants.[17] Under this designation, the Rüppell's vulture
Rüppell's vulture
is defined as not being immediately at risk of extinction, however current population could become threatened without careful regulation of trade.[18] Since 1992, Rüppell's vulture
Rüppell's vulture
has been occurring as a vagrant in Spain and Portugal, with annual records since 1997, mainly in the Cadiz / Straits of Gibraltar area, but also further north.[19] Threats[edit] Rüppell's vulture
Rüppell's vulture
populations are experiencing declining populations throughout their entire range. These declines can be attributed to loss of habitat related to human-related land use, poisoning, human use for medicine or meat,[20] loss of nesting sites, and declining availability of food sources.[21] Poisoning is currently thought to be the most serious threat to all vulture populations in Africa, although they are not usually the intended target. In events where predators such as lions or hyenas have killed livestock, carbofuran poisons have been placed into carcasses as retaliation against the predators.[22] Unfortunately, vultures utilize carrion as their main food source and one carcass has the potential to attract hundreds of birds to feed because this species identifies food by sight. One evaluation of 10 poisoning events found that each event caused the death of 37 to 600 individuals.[23] Killing of Rüppell's vultures for use in medicine has also greatly contributed to the rapid population decline. In many African cultures, vultures are used for medicine and magic related to superstitions that they are clairvoyant and can be used to increase a child's intelligence.[22] Establishing protected wildlife areas is thought to be an effective route to protect the Rüppell's vulture
Rüppell's vulture
from extinction. The Rüppell's vulture
Rüppell's vulture
breed and nests in cliffs in northern and southern Kenya, as well as Tanzania. These breeding and nesting grounds amass huge numbers of Rüppell's vultures which will raise young and forage in the surrounding area.[24] Considering that the detection rate of Rüppell's vultures was found to be lower in protected areas than outside of them, extending protection to these key breeding sites could help support their population.[22] See also[edit]

The white-backed vulture, which is slightly smaller and has a shorter neck.

References[edit]

^ IUCN Red List
IUCN Red List
2015. ^ " Bird
Bird
Life Species Factsheet — Rueppell's Vulture
Vulture
Gyps rueppellii". Bird
Bird
Life International website. Bird
Bird
Life International. 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-06-10. Retrieved 2010-06-10. Identification 85-97 cm. Medium-sized vulture.  ^ Beolens, Bo; Watkins, Michael (2003). Whose Bird? Men and Women Commemorated in the Common Names of Birds. London: Christopher Helm. p. 294.  ^ a b Laybourne, Roxie C. (December 1974). "Collision between a Vulture
Vulture
and an Aircraft at an Altitude of 37,000 Feet" (PDF). The Wilson Bulletin. Wilson Ornithological Society. 86 (4): 461–462. ISSN 0043-5643. JSTOR 4160546. OCLC 46381512.  ^ "Rüppell's Vulture
Vulture
( Gyps
Gyps
rueppelli) - BirdLife species factsheet". www.birdlife.org. Retrieved 2016-02-29.  ^ a b "Birdlife.org". Birdlife.org. Retrieved 2011-05-31.  ^ Field Guide to the Birds of East Africa: Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi by Stevenson & Fanshawe. Elsevier Science (2001), ISBN 978-0856610790 ^ Sinclair, Ian; Phil Hockey (2005). Sasol: The Larger Illustrated Guide to Birds of Southern Africa. Illustrated by Norman Arlott and Peter Hayman (2nd ed.). Cape Town: Struik Publishers. ISBN 978-1-77007-243-5. Retrieved July 27, 2013.  ^ Raptors of the World by Ferguson-Lees, Christie, Franklin, Mead & Burton. Houghton Mifflin (2001), ISBN 0-618-12762-3 ^ "Ruppell's griffon vulture". Smithsonian's National Zoo. Retrieved 2018-02-18.  ^ Weber, RE; Hiebl, I; Braunitzer, G. (April 1988). "High altitude and hemoglobin function in the vultures Gyps
Gyps
rueppellii and Aegypius monachus". Biological Chemistry Hoppe-Seyler. De Gruyter. 369 (4): 233–40. doi:10.1515/bchm3.1988.369.1.233. ISSN 0177-3593. PMID 3401328.  ^ Haines, Lester (2010-08-18). "Giant vulture menaces Scottish skies". TheRegister.co.uk. Retrieved 2011-05-31.  ^ [1] ^ "Ruppell's Griffon Vulture
Vulture
Facts - National Zoo". nationalzoo.si.edu. Retrieved 2016-02-29.  ^ "Rueppell's griffon videos, photos and facts - Gyps
Gyps
rueppellii". ARKive. Retrieved 2016-02-29.  ^ " Gyps
Gyps
rueppellii". IUCN Red List
IUCN Red List
of Threatened Species Version 2010.1. International Union for Conservation of Nature
International Union for Conservation of Nature
and Natural Resources. 2010. Archived from the original on 2010-06-09. Retrieved 2010-06-09. This long-lived vulture has experienced a moderately rapid reduction in its global population which is likely to continue. For these reasons it is listed as Near Threatened.  ^ a b " Gyps
Gyps
rueppelli (Rueppell's Griffon, Rüppell's Griffon Vulture, Ruppell's Vulture, Rüppell's Vulture)". www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved 2016-02-29.  ^ "The CITES
CITES
Appendices CITES". cites.org. Retrieved 2016-02-29.  ^ Gutiérrez, Ricard (2003) Occurrence of Rüppell's Griffon Vulture in Europe Dutch Birding 2595): 289-303 ^ Thiollay, Jean-Marc (2006-04-01). "The decline of raptors in West Africa: long-term assessment and the role of protected areas". Ibis. 148 (2): 240–254. doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.2006.00531.x. ISSN 1474-919X.  ^ Virani, Munir Z.; Kendall, Corinne; Njoroge, Peter; Thomsett, Simon (2011-02-01). "Major declines in the abundance of vultures and other scavenging raptors in and around the Masai Mara ecosystem, Kenya". Biological Conservation. 144 (2): 746–752. doi:10.1016/j.biocon.2010.10.024.  ^ a b c Ogada, Darcy L. (2014-08-01). "The power of poison: pesticide poisoning of Africa's wildlife". Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences. 1322 (1): 1–20. doi:10.1111/nyas.12405. ISSN 1749-6632. PMID 24716788.  ^ Ogada, Darcy; Shaw, Phil; Beyers, Rene L.; Buij, Ralph; Murn, Campbell; Thiollay, Jean Marc; Beale, Colin M.; Holdo, Ricardo M.; Pomeroy, Derek (2015-06-01). "Another Continental Vulture
Vulture
Crisis: Africa's Vultures Collapsing toward Extinction". Conservation Letters. 9: 89–97. doi:10.1111/conl.12182. ISSN 1755-263X.  ^ Virani, Munir Z.; Monadjem, Ara; Thomsett, Simon; Kendall, Corinne (2012-09-01). "Seasonal variation in breeding Rüppell's Vultures Gyps rueppellii at Kwenia, southern Kenya and implications for conservation". Bird
Bird
Conservation International. 22 (03): 260–269. doi:10.1017/S0959270911000505. ISSN 1474-0001. 

BirdLife International (2012). " Gyps
Gyps
rueppellii". IUCN Red List
IUCN Red List
of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013.  BirdLife International (2007a): 2006–2007 Red List status changes. Retrieved 26 August 2007. BirdLife International (2007b): Rüppell's Vulture
Vulture
- BirdLife Species Factsheet. Retrieved 26 August 2007.

External links[edit]

" Rüppell's vulture
Rüppell's vulture
media". Internet Bird
Bird
Collection. 

v t e

Vultures

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Aves

Cathartidae (New World vultures)

Cathartes

Turkey vulture
Turkey vulture
( Cathartes
Cathartes
aura) Lesser yellow-headed vulture
Lesser yellow-headed vulture
( Cathartes
Cathartes
burrovianus) Greater yellow-headed vulture
Greater yellow-headed vulture
( Cathartes
Cathartes
melambrotus)

Coragyps

American black vulture (Coragyps atratus)

Sarcoramphus

King vulture
King vulture
(Sarcoramphus papa)

Gymnogyps

California condor
California condor
(Gymnogyps californianus)

Vultur

Andean condor
Andean condor
(Vultur gryphus)

Accipitridae: Gypaetinae (eagle-vultures)

Eutriorchis

Madagascan serpent eagle
Madagascan serpent eagle
(Eutriorchis astur)

Gypohierax

Palm-nut vulture
Palm-nut vulture
(Gypohierax angolensis)

Polyboroides

Madagascan harrier-hawk
Madagascan harrier-hawk
( Polyboroides
Polyboroides
radiatus) African harrier-hawk ( Polyboroides
Polyboroides
typus)

Neophron

Egyptian vulture
Egyptian vulture
(Neophron percnopterus)

Gypaetus

Bearded vulture
Bearded vulture
(Gypaetus barbatus)

Accipitridae: Gypinae (Old World vultures)

Sarcogyps

Red-headed vulture
Red-headed vulture
(Sarcogyps calvus)

Trigonoceps

White-headed vulture
White-headed vulture
(Trigonoceps occipitalis)

Aegypius

Cinereous vulture
Cinereous vulture
(Aegypius monachus)

Torgos

Lappet-faced vulture
Lappet-faced vulture
(Torgos tracheliotos)

Necrosyrtes

Hooded vulture
Hooded vulture
(Necrosyrtes monachus)

Gyps

White-rumped vulture
White-rumped vulture
( Gyps
Gyps
bengalensis) Himalayan vulture
Himalayan vulture
( Gyps
Gyps
himalayensis) White-backed vulture
White-backed vulture
( Gyps
Gyps
africanus) Rüppell's vulture
Rüppell's vulture
( Gyps
Gyps
rueppellii) Griffon vulture
Griffon vulture
( Gyps
Gyps
fulvus) Indian vulture
Indian vulture
( Gyps
Gyps
indicus) Slender-billed vulture
Slender-billed vulture
( Gyps
Gyps
tenuirostris) Cape vulture
Cape vulture
( Gyps
Gyps
coprothere)

Related topics

Diclofenac Indian vulture
Indian vulture
crisis

Taxon identifiers

Wd: Q648745 ARKive: gyps-rueppellii Avibase: 76B512B1EE9B10EC BHL: 2390606 eBird: ruegri1 EoL: 1047563 Fauna Europaea: 96701 GBIF: 2480384 ITIS: 175490 IUCN: 22695207 NCBI: 8967 Sp

.