Deep Dive: Cape Vultures

by OBDK on November 07, 2022


Cape Vultures, or Gyps coprotheres, can be found in grassland, savanna, and shrubland in South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Mozambique, and Namibia.1 They are also known as the Cape Griffon. They have cream-colored feathers and a stripe on their wings, and they have yellow eyes.2


They stand 38-43 inches tall, weigh 15 to 24 pounds, and have a wingspan of 7.5 to 8.5 feet.3 These vultures are social birds and often nest in colonies – there can be around 1,000 pairs of vultures in one nesting colony.1 When females lay their eggs – usually just one in a breeding season – both the males and females will share incubation duty. Incubation lasts for about two months.3


These vultures eat carrion, like many other vulture species, and at feeding sites, they’ll dominate. This is the case even if they’re outnumbered.3 Due to irresponsible handling of land, bush encroachment has negatively affected how well they can hunt for food.1 Because their usual prey isn’t as plentiful in their habitats as it used to be, this causes the vultures to turn more toward already-dead livestock.3


In the wild, these vultures can live to be 15-25 years old. In captivity, it’s much longer than that. They can live to be 70 years old.1 In the wild, they tend to face threats like:3

  • Colliding with power lines
  • Losing habitat 
  • Food shortages 
  • Hunting for traditional medicines 


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