Savannas, grasslands, sub-desert; sometimes in dense woodlands with abundant rainfall
Wild: Carrion - dead wild animals and domestic stock; bone flakes
Zoo: Meat and bone chips
Incubation: 56 to 58 days
This old-world vulture has a bare head and sparse yellowish or whitish down on the back of the neck. Length is about 3 feet, and weight about 12 pounds. The wingspan is over 7 feet. This bird cannot fly far without using thermals to permit long glides. It often flies over 30 miles to find food. It often perches near cattle kraals, where it expects dead livestock to be available. Because its bill is weak it must feed on the innards and soft flesh of the animal after hyenas or jackals have opened up the carcass. The bird is quite gregarious at feeding sites and at its roost in tall trees, making throaty squawks, hisses, and pig-like squeals. They roost in groups until two or three hours after dawn, and return to the roost about three hours before dark. They often gorge themselves until they are too full to fly. Breeding takes place from August to April. They may make their own nests of sticks and leaves held together by guano, or they take over old nests of storks, eagles or secretary birds. Both male and female share in the incubation of the single egg, and in caring for the chick until it can fly at about six weeks of age. They will not breed if food is scarce.
Where in the Zoo?
I can be found in the African Plains at Cleveland Metroparks Zoo.