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The Wildebeest's guide to South Africa

Cape Vulture / Cape Griffon

Afrikaans name: Kransaasvoël

A captive Cape Vulture

Cape Vulture

Photo © Steven Herbert

Gyps coprotheres

The Cape Vulture is a large bird that can have a wingspan of 2.5 metres or more. It is endemic to the southern Africa region and is most common in South Africa, Lesotho and Botswana.

The number of breeding pairs drops each year which has caused the IUCN to set its status as Endangered. There are numerous reasons for its decline including poisoning, habitat loss, use of body parts in traditional medicine and less farm livestock dying because of modern farming practices.

The Cape Vulture breeds and roosts on cliffs but during the day they often travel large distances in search of food. As with many species of vulture they have excellent eye-sight and keep a lookout for carcasses on the ground plus the behaviour of other distant vultures to see if they have located food.

They nest in colonies on cliff faces. The female is normally responsible for making the nest which is mainly made of sticks, twigs and grass. Although two eggs are sometimes laid it is most common that she only lays one. Both parents feed the chick which can take around 5 months before being ready to leave the nest.

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References and further reading

A Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: O.P.M. Prozesky - Year Published: 1983 - Page: 58

A First Guide to South African Birds - 6th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1959 - Page: 137

A First Guide to South African Birds - 7th Edition - Author: Leonard Gill - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 137

Animals of the Kruger National Park - Author: G. de Graaff - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 62

Birds of Prey of Southern Africa - Author: Peter Steyn - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 21

Birds of Southern Africa - Kruger National Park - Author: Kenneth Newman - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 60

Birds of the Natal Drakensberg Park - Author: Robin Little and William Bainbridge - Year Published: 1992 - Page: 14

Birds of the South Western Cape - Author: Joy Frandsen - Year Published: - Page: 46

Birds of the Transvaal - Author: Tarboton, Kemp and Kemp - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 42

Collins Illustrated Checklist - Birds of Southern Africa - 1st edition - Author: Ber van Perlo - Year Published: 1999 - Page: 20

Eagles, Hawks & Falcons of the World - Author: Leslie Brown and Dean Amadon - Year Published: 1989 - Page: 329

Everyone's Guide to South African Birds - Author: John Sinclair and John Mendelsohn - Year Published: 1987 - Page: 74

Field Guide to the Birds of Kruger National Park - Author: Ian Sinclair and Ian Whyte - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 48

Field Guide to the Cradle of Humankind - Author: B. Hilton-Barber & Prof. L. R. Berger - Year Published: 2004 - Page: 178

Ian Sinclair's Field Guide to the Birds of Southern Africa - 2nd Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair - Year Published: 1988 - Page: 70

Newman's Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Year Published: 1984 - Page: 152

Newman's Birds of Southern Africa - 7th Edition - Author: Ken Newman - Year Published: 2000 - Page: 152

Rare Birds of the World - Author: Guy Mountford & Norman Arlott - Year Published: 1988 - Page: 107

Reader's Digest Illustrated Guide to the Game Parks and Nature Reserves of Southern Africa - 2nd edi - Author: Editor - Alan Duggan - Year Published: 1991 - Page: 409

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Dr. Austin Roberts - Year Published: 1949 - Page: 40

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 3rd Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Year Published: 1975 - Page: 71

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: McLachlan and Liversidge - Year Published: 1981 - Page: 79

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 5th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1985 - Page: 108

Roberts' Birds of Southern Africa - 6th Edition - Author: Gordon Lindsay Maclean - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 104

Sasol Birds of Prey of Africa and its Islands - Author: Alan and Meg Kemp - Year Published: 1998 - Page: 34

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 1st Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 1993 - Page: 82

Sasol Birds of Southern Africa - 4th Edition - Author: Ian Sinclair et al. - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 86

Southern African Bird Names Explained - Author: Charles Clinning - Year Published: 1989 - Page: 67

Southern Africa's Threatened Wildlife - Author: John Ledger - Year Published: 1990 - Page: 46

The Birds of South Africa - Author: Hazel Stokes - Year Published: 1979 - Page: 7

The Status & Conservation of Birds of Prey in the Transvaal - Author: W. Tarboton and D. Allan - Year Published: 1984 - Page: 13

The Vultures of Africa - Author: Mundy, Butchart, Ledger and Piper - Year Published: 1992 - Page: 72

Wildlife of Southern Africa - Author: Martin Withers and David Hosking - Year Published: 2011 - Page: 52

List of South African Birds

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