Tracking Vanishing Vultures

During the fall of 2018, researchers from HawkWatch International, in collaboration with Hawk Mountain Sanctuary and the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, deployed satellite transmitters to identify critical vulture habitat and causes of mortality of White-backed, Rüppell's, Lappet-faced, Hooded and Egyptian Vultures in the Horn of Africa. To document where vultures eat, roost, nest and migrate, we are tracking individuals with small solar-powered GPS units. Check out the map below to see the latest movement from these critically important vultures.

This project was made possible by the generous support of our donors.

Rectangle bonezBonez (Rüppell's Vulture)   Rectangle dougDoug (White-back Vulture)   Rectangle gidgetGidget (White-backed Vulture)   Rectangle JTJT (Lappet-faced Vulture)
Rectangle kingtutKing Tut (Egyptian Vulture)   Rectangle mc chopsM.C. Chops (Lappet-faced Vulture)   Rectangle odysseusR. Speers (White-backed Vulture)   Rectangle oscarOscar (White-backed Vulture)
Rectangle kemiseKemise (Hooded Vulture)    Rectangle stratosStratos (Rüppell's Vulture)   Rectangle tompettyTom Petty (Egyptian Vulture)   Rectangle walterWalter (White-backed Vulture)
Rectangle stratosVanir Kamira (Lappet-faced Vulture)   Rectangle stratosHermes (White-backed Vulture)        


White-backed Vulture

White backed Vultures

The White-backed Vulture (Gyps africanus) is found across much of Sub-Saharan Africa, inhabiting diverse habitats. It nests in trees and feeds on carrion in both wild savannah’s and, particularly in Ethiopia, on human waste around towns and cities. Populations of this Critically Endangered species have declined by an estimated 90% in recent decades. 


Rüppell's Vulture


The Rüppell's Vulture (Gyps rueppelli) is a high-flying and large vulture, named for the German explorer, collector, and zoologist Eduard Rüppell. The species generally inhabits drier and more rugged terrain, and nests colonially on cliffs. Populations of this Critically Endangered species have declined by an estimated 97% across Africa in recent decades. 


Hooded Vulture

Hooded Vulture Adult

The Hooded Vulture (Necrosyrtes monachus) is a smaller vulture that often lives in close proximity to humans. The species nests in trees and feeds on smaller scraps of human food waste and carrion. Populations of this Critically Endangered species have declined by an estimated 83% across Africa in recent decades 

Lappet-faced Vulture

Lappet facedVulture3

The Lappet-faced Vulture (Torgos tracheliotos) is a large and powerful vulture that feeds on flesh, hide, ligaments, and bone. While primarily found in Africa, there is also a small population in the Arabian Peninsula. Populations of this Endangered species have declined by an estimated 80% across Africa in recent decades.


Egyptian Vulture

Egyptian Vulture Turkey 20150315

The Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus) is a widespread vulture, found across much of southern Europe, South Asia, and Northern Africa. Of the vultures in Africa, this species is the only regular long-distance migrant, migrating to Europe and the Middle East to breed. It is also renowned as a tool user — using stones to crack open ostrich eggs to feed on. Populations of this Endangered species have declined by an estimated 92% across Africa in recent decades.



Project Sponsors

Special thanks to the donors who sponsored transmitters for the Vanishing Vultures project. Through their generous support, HWI is able to collect data to identify crucial habitat and inform local conservation efforts to protect these important birds.

Antczak Polich Law
Lynn Bohs
Glen and Anneli Bowen
Circle of Life Fund
Kirsten Collins
Eva Carlston Academy
Scott and Amy Florell
Doug and Tana Hunter
Team Kaddas
Walter and Karen Loewenstern
Nancy and John Matro
Elizabeth Oedell
Charles Oppenheimer
Lorraine Parkinson
Julia Shaw
SWCA Environmental Consultants
Jane Tatchell
Valerie Walker
Buddy Woodhouse
Max Planck Institute for Ornithology

(All images courtesy Evan Buechley, PhD)