Lappet-faced or Nubian Vulture

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image: LFVulture.jpg

Common Name: Lappet-faced or Nubian Vulture
Scientific Name: Torgos tracheliotus

Size: 41 inches (95-115 cm); Wingspan: 106 inches (250-290 cm)

Habitat: Africa; found in southern Africa, up the eastern coast, and in the dry northern regions of the continent.

Status: Vulnerable. Global Population: 8,500 mature individuals and declining throughout southern Africa. Have suffered as a result of poisoning by farmers. They have also been known to fall victim to electrocution by high-voltage towers. Also, with the elimination of hyenas in many areas, vultures are unable to gather the bone fragments that these animals once left behind. Such calcium-rich tidbits are highly important to the strength and health of vulture chicks

Diet: Wide variety of carrion, occasionally live animals.

Nesting: Breeding may only occur once every two years for this vulture species. Lappet-faced pairs build a large platform-style nest of sticks in the top of a small thorn tree. After lining it with grass and other soft objects, the female lays a solitary egg. If a predator makes its way through the thorny obstacles to the nest, the baby can do a very convincing job of feigning death.

Cool Facts: Lappet-faced Vultures, perhaps more than any other vulture, will on occasionally attack young and weak living animals and raid the nests of other birds. Locally, Lesser Flamingoes, among others, have been reported to be culled by Lappet-faces in this way.

Many non-native plants are found in the Negev Desert in Israel. These are thought to have originated from seeds brought over on the feet of migrating vultures.

The Hausas, an African tribe, developed a tale based on this great vulture. According to the legend, there was an enormous bird called the Jipillima, that feasted on humans, but whose droppings had the ability to cure anything. One day, the king's son became ill because an evil witch had forced magic thorns into his body. A young woman in love with the prince went out in search of a cure for him. Coming across a tree full of Jipillimas, she heard them talking of the sick man, after complaining of their hunger--they had only eaten 99 men that day! She heard them telling that the only way the man could be healed was if he were fed their droppings. So the girl hastily gathered up some droppings, took them back to the prince, and fed them to him. He vomited up the painful thorns, and was healed. The girl was rewarded by marrying the prince.

Found in Songbird ReMix Vultures

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