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Lappet-faced vulture

Lappet-faced vulture
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter Thomas (FunkyMunky) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 146 W: 0 N: 608] (3154)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-03-31
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 400D, Sigma 170-500mm APO
Exposure: f/10.0, 1/1250 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2010-11-18 18:52
Viewed: 6488
Points: 20
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Photo taken in my favourite park, Kgalagadi Transfrontier.
Lappet-faced vulture (Torgos tracheliotos)

As the largest vulture in Africa, the lappet-faced vulture dominates other vultures when feeding and is even powerful enough to fend off a jackal! This impressive species is armed with a large and powerful beak, capable of tearing off the hides, tendons and other coarse tissue of its scavenged prey that are too tough for smaller scavengers. This enormous, broad-winged bird is easily recognised by its conspicuous size, bare, pink-skinned head and distinctive fleshy folds of skin, known as lappets, on the sides of its neck, for which it earns its common name. There are two subspecies of the lappet-faced vulture. The African subspecies Torgos tracheliotus tracheliotus has mostly dark brown to black feathers , which contrast starkly with the white thighs and white bar running across the leading edge of the underwing, clearly visible when in flight. The north-east African subspecies, Torgos tracheliotus negevensis, is altogether browner, including partially-brown thighs, with only some individuals showing white on the underwing, and those individuals formerly found in Israel also having pure white feathers on their backs .

The lappet-faced vulture is primarily a scavenger, preferring to feed on the carcasses of smaller animals such as gazelle and hares. Unusually for vultures, however, this species also occasionally hunts and kills live prey, including small mammals and birds such as flamingos, in addition to feeding opportunistically on eggs, and possibly termites and locusts. Although normally found alone or in pairs, these birds will sometimes congregate around large food sources or water holes, with up to 50 individuals seen in exceptional cases, although groups do not usually exceed ten. Being much more powerful and aggressive than other vulture species, and of dominating size, the lappet-faced vulture will often scare off or steal from smaller vultures.

When mating, pairs often build only one nest, although it is also normal to have one to three nests that are used alternately, and these nests are used year after year. The breeding season varies across this bird’s extensive range. Generally, those in East Africa breed throughout the year, while those in southern Africa probably mate in May, and breed from May until mid-summer when the chicks fledge , and those in the extreme north of the range mate from November to July (sometimes to September). One egg per clutch is usual, which is then incubated for 54 to 56 days by both parents. Although the chick fledges at 125 to 135 days, they continue to remain dependent on their parents for quite some time . Despite being independent from their parents, young usually take six years before they will begin to breed themselves

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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2010-11-18 19:30]

Hello Thomas,
what a capture of this vulture! Excellent sharpness and the feathers are so exciting to look. How details the shot is upon seeing the crooked beak in its toughness.
The dried branch offers a good graphical composition.
nicely executed shot.


Hello Peter,

Well done especially in terms of focus, exposure and moment.

Very well done Peter. A well exposed image with lots of detail and a good catchlight in the eye. Pose and composition works well with good colors. Small nit is the tiny bit of branch peaking into the frame on the top rh side. Clone that and then print this one big.
Lovely shot. TFS

Hi Peter,
nice portrait of this vulture. Good details.

  • Great 
  • jhm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 893 W: 0 N: 507] (1853)
  • [2010-11-18 23:32]

Hello Peter,

A really a wonderfull sharpness and clarity picture.
All details are splendid for look at.
Thank you very much for your interesting note.
Very well done, TFS.

Best regards,

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2010-11-19 9:01]

Hi Peter,impressive portrait of this volture,i like a lot the point of view and the fantastic quality of your pic,wonderfull sharpness and natural colors in a very nice composition.Thanks for share,have a nice day,Luciano

Hello Peter,
Nice capture of this Lappet-faced vulture. I like nice colours and fine details.

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2010-11-19 10:46]

Hello Peter,
Great photo of this Lappet-faced Vulture. Excellent details in this attractive pose. Beautiful natural colours. Taken from a very good POV.
Have a good weekend,

Hi Peter

Great shot of this mighty scaveneger. Good sharpness and details.


Bonjour Peter,
Très belle publication restituant magnifiquement le sujet sous une excellente profondeur de champ permettant d'apprécier la finesse des détails.
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventures.

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