White-backed Vulture ( Gyps africanus, family: Accipitridae)

Kruger Park Whitebacked VultureThe White-backed Vulture (Latin name Gyps africanus) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 123 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 488 also a picture of the White-backed Vulture on page 481. The White-backed Vulture belongs to the family of birds classified as Accipitridae.  African White-backed Vulture is the older name for this species.

white back edvulture kruger national park birds

The map of the Kruger you see on this page shows the areas (coloured orange) where this bird has been identified ... the green dots show the locations of the various Kruger National Park Rest Camps

The White-backed Vulture is neither Endemic or near Endemic to the Kruger National Park. It is however a common resident

In terms of distribution of the White-backed Vulture you will find it all over the Kruger Park. On dull and cloudy days when there are fewer thermals around to power the soaring flight of these raptors you will often see them perched in dead trees keeping a look-out.

The White-backed Vulture is a large bird much bigger than a Pied Crow. The height of the White-backed Vulture is about 100 cms and its weight is about 5500 gms

The male and female White-backed Vulture have the same plumage and colours

  • Head is grey.
  • Eye is brown.
  • Bill is grey, black.
  • Throat is blue, grey.
  • Back is grey.
  • Legs are grey, black.

This bird has normally proportioned leg length.

Main diet items for this bird ...

The White-backed Vulture feeds on the ground mainly and is a well known scavenger or carrion eater.

Breeding and nesting habits for this bird ...

The White-backed Vulture is monogamous unless its mate dies. In the event of a partner dying Gyps africanus will seek out a new mate

The nesting habit of White-backed Vulture is to create the nest in branches of a tree or shrub. The bird lays eggs which are white in colour and number between 1 and 2.

Habitat and flocking behaviour for this bird ...

The preferred habitats for White-backed Vulture are: woodlands and arid areas. Comments about the White-backed Vulture :follows carnivores such as lions aerially.

You will normally see the White-backed Vulture in pairs and flocks and also as  single birds.

Names of this avian species in other languages ...

Xhosa ... Unknown

Zulu ... Unknown

Afrikaans ...Witrugaasvol

German ... Weirckengeier

Portuguese ... Grifo-de-dorso-branco

French ... Vautour africain

Dutch ... Witruggier

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For in-depth birding information please refer to these authoritative avian references ...

Robert's 7th edition number ... 123

The main reference source for this data was "Roberts - Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition" . Other references were "Newmans Birds of the Kruger Park" by Keith Newman published circa 1980 . Names in foreign languages were obtained from the Percy Fitzpatrick Institute of African Ornithology, University of Cape Town website , www.fitzpatrick.uct.ac.za