Hooded Vulture (Necrosyrtes monachus) – Critically Endangered
Project Description: The Kruger-to-Canyons (K2C) Hooded Vulture Project operates in the K2C Biosphere Reserve, and focuses on the breeding biology, feeding behaviour, and movement ecology of hooded vultures. Active nests are fitted with camera traps to record nesting behaviours and rearing success. Nests which fail or aren’t active for the year are still monitored to see which other species make use of these large nests and regular habitat surveys are undertaken in the hope of finding new nests. Camera traps are also placed at local vulture restaurants to monitor the numbers of hooded vultures coming to feed and also to make note of other species which may compete for food.
For up to date information please visit the K2C Hooded Vulture Project‘s Facebook page
What is a hooded vulture?
You may have come across vultures in zoos or on wildlife documentaries but those tend to belong to the much bigger species, such as the Griffons and condors. Welcome to the world of hoodies.
- The occur in sub-Saharan and Southern Africa as the map illustrates below.
- The hooded vulture is one of the smallest species in the world weighing in at between 1.5-2.6kg and are the only member of their Genus Necrosyrtes.
- Unlike most other vultures this species has a very slender bill enabling it to remove scraps of meat close to the bone.
- When excited or too warm their faces flush from white to pink.
- They pick very specific tree species in which to nest, the jackalberry for one, and they lay a single white egg which looks as if it has been dusted with cocoa powder at one end.
- Reproduction is dependent on rivers.
- Hooded vultures face 3 main threats, capture for the traditional medicine trade especially in Nigeria, non-target poisoning and the bush meat trade. As with other vultures electrocution from power lines is also a problem.
- These cheeky chaps have been observed stealing meat from lions and hyenas and when approached they play dead and so are left alone. As soon as the coast is clear they pop up, grab their stolen food and continue on their way.