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.
Bonez (Rüppell's Vulture)
|Doug (White-back Vulture)||Gidget (White-backed Vulture)||Vanir Kamira (Lappet-faced Vulture)|
King Tut (Egyptian Vulture)
|Stratos (Rüppell's Vulture)||JT (White-backed Vulture)||Roger Mzee Kupe (White-backed Vulture)|
|Hermes (White-backed Vulture)||Kemise (Hooded Vulture)||Tom Petty (Egyptian Vulture)||Walter (White-backed Vulture)|
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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
Glen and Anneli Bowen
Circle of Life Fund
Eva Carlston Academy
Scott and Amy Florell
Doug and Tana Hunter
Walter and Karen Loewenstern
Nancy and John Matro
SWCA Environmental Consultants
Max Planck Institute for Ornithology
(All images courtesy Evan Buechley, PhD)