IVAD

International Vulture Awareness Day

International Vulture Awareness Day

This is ‘one of Andre Botha’s vultures’. André works for the Endangered Wildlife Trust as the manager of the Birds of Prey Working Group in South Africa. Most of his work is in the field, or as we say in Africa, in the bush.

Hooded Vulture

Hooded Vulture

Hooded Vulture

Hooded Vulture

I took these photos during our holiday in the Kruger National Park last year July. It’s an immature Hooded Vulture. It was tagged by André Botha’s team in February 2007.

There are not many Hooded Vultures in Kruger National Park, so this was quite a rare sighting. Hooded Vultures are loners, sometimes found in pairs. According to one of my many Kruger field guides, Hooded Vultures will follow wild dog and hyena packs to get to a kill as early as possible. Hooded vultures are relatively small, so they get pushed away by other vulture species.

Besides the Hooded Vulture you might also see White-backed Vulture, Lappet-faced Vulture, White-headed Vulture and the Cape Vulture in Kruger. That totals 5 out of 9 vultures that occur in Southern Africa. The other four are Ruppels Griffon, Bearded vulture, Palmnut vulture and Egyptian vulture, the last being classified as regionally extinct in South Africa.

Vultures spend most of their time in the air, soaring high on the thermals looking for food. Or on the ground, eating the food after they’ve found it. When they spot a kill, they will descend and sit in nearby trees and wait until it is their turn.

Different species of birds have different roles at a kill. The Bateleur, an eagle, is often first at a kill because of its excellent vision and low-altitude flying. Bateleurs have strong beaks and can break open carcasses (if the lions or hyenas haven’t already done that).

The Hooded Vulture moves in as fast as possible. Being small it is limited to the first (before everyone arrives) and the last pickings. The Lappet-faced vulture, the largest of the bunch usually waits to see if it is safe to tuck in, so if the Hooded isn’t attacked by lions still wanting a bite, it will move in and take over. The White-backed vulture will fight the Lappet-faced for meat. They are a bit smaller, but far outnumber the Lappet-faced Vulture.

Marabou Stork (by gwendolen)

Then the Marabou storks might come along, chase everyone away and eat their share. Looking at a Marabou stork it is easy to understand the New World Vultures’ relationship to storks.

Starling (by gwendolen)

In the end, the smallest of scraps are left for the starlings, they get to eat the tidbits. All these birds are part of the clean up team, but the vultures need our attention because many of them are becoming endangered or as in the case of the Egyptian vulture, regionally extinct. That is why International Vulture Awareness Day is so important.

IVAD09

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for more cool bird pix around the world

Can you help us reach 100 events?

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International Vulture Awareness Day is close to 100 participants. On September 5, organisations all over the world are organising activities to highlight vulture conservation and to raise awareness. Events are being held in:

Argentina | Austria | Bangladesh | Belgium | Bulgaria | Croatia | Czech republic | France | Germany | Hungary | India | Israel | Kazakhstan | Kenya | Kyrgyzstan | Macedonia | Malta | Mexico | Mongolia | Nepal | Netherlands | Pakistan | Poland | Slovenia | South Africa | Spain | Thailand | United Kingdom | United States | Zambia

Is your country represented yet? Perhaps you can contact your local bird conservation organisation and tell them about IVAD09.

But remember, you don’t have to be a zoo, bird park or conservation organisation to become involved. Every individual can support IVAD09 by participating in the Blog Festival. Write about, film, draw or photograph vultures and post your permalink on the Virtual Event website on September the 5th. Mr Linky will be there to take care of your link. Don’t forget to put the adorable Blog for Vultures badge in your post!

IVAD09

IVAD09 blog festival | BPW #50


Immature White-headed Vulture, Kruger National Park 2008.
IVAD09 blog festival, originally uploaded by gwendolen.

I wrote about International Vulture Awareness Day last week. I’d like you to know IVAD09 is hosting a blog festival on September 5. You can read all about Blog for Vultures on IVAD09/wp.

I hope you will all participate. I’m very much looking forward to read about vultures from all over the world.

Check


for more cool bird pix around the world

IVAD09