Cape Vulture ( Gyps coprotheres, family: Accipitridae)

cape vulture kruger national park birds The Cape Vulture (Latin name Gyps coprotheres) is described in Roberts Birds of Southern Africa, 7th Edition. This bird has a unique Roberts number of 122 and you will find a full description of this bird on page 489 also a picture of the Cape Vulture on page 481. The Cape Vulture belongs to the family of birds classified as Accipitridae. According to the Percy FitzPatrick Institute of African Ornithology the Cape Vulture is also known by these other names: Kolbe's Griffon, Cape Griffon.

The map of the Kruger show thsi bird can be seen at any locaion in the Kruger ... they cover vast distances at high speeds .... see below.

Endemic species is one that is confined to a specific country or region. For example certain birds endemic to South Africa only exist in that country. One such example is the Cape Vulture and this species depends upon a particular habitat for survival. Destroy that habitat and the bird will possibly be lost forever.

In terms of distribution of the Cape Vulture in the Kruger National Park you may not see it in all areas. Cape Vulture : see above distribution map.

The Cape Vulture.

Identification assistance for this avian species ...

The Cape Vulture is a very large bird much much bigger than a Pied Crow. The height of the Cape Vulture is about 1200 cms and its weight is about 9500 gms

You will find that the male Cape Vulture plumage and colours are different to that of the female Cape Vulture

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

This bird has normally proportioned leg length.

The Cape Vulture feeds on the ground mainly

It has general scavenger habits which makes them susceptible to poisoning on farmland. They have also suffered badly from the use of pesticides used on farmlands.

Vultures use thermals to climb and soar and it this ability that allows them to travel at such speeds. They of course do not flap their wings to achieve such speeds.

Breeding and nesting habits for this bird ...

The Cape Vulture is monogamous unless its mate dies. In the event of a partner dying Gyps coprotheres will seek out a new mate

The nesting habit of Cape 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 Cape Vulture are: woodlands and arid areas including grasslands. The Cape Vulture is also at home in wetland and bushveld areas.

You will normally see the Cape Vulture in flocks.

Interesting article in Kruger Park Times July 2006: A Cape Vulture was fitted with a GPS tracking device on May 26th this year with an aim to let the bird fly around with it until the battery stopped working (estimate of life about 1 year with 3 readings per day being communicated via a cellphone SMS system ... isn't it all amazing).

This bird's movement is being monitored by the De Wildt Cheetah and Wildlife Trust who plant to publish the full data on completion of the project.

Already they have seen a speed of up to 95 km/hr recorded as the vulture flew over the Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces as far north as Letaba in the kruger Park and Lower Sabie in the south of the Kruger Park.

Names of this avian species in other languages ...

Xhosa ... Ixhalanga

Zulu ... iNqe

Afrikaans ...Kransaasvol

German ... Kapgeier

Portuguese ... Grifo do Cabo

French ... Vautour chassefiente

Dutch ... Kaapse Gier

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

Robert's 7th edition number ... 122

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 ,