Photographer's Note

One of the most common vulture species in Chobe National Park is the White-backed Vulture. It is a bird with only down feathers on the head and neck, very broad wings and short tail. It has also a white neck ruff. The adult’s whitish back contrasts with the otherwise dark plumage and the juvenile birds are commonly dark. The White-backed is a medium-sized vulture with a body mass of 4.2-7.2 kg, wingspan of 210-220 cm and longevity of 19 years.

Like other vultures it is a scavenger and it is found in large numbers when food resources are abundant. They are adapted to feed on soft tissues and can not rip open large carcasses with thick skin. It is a gregarious bird, feeding in large flocks. It is not uncommon to see up to 100 birds near a carcass. The White-backed Vulture searches its food by soaring high above the ground. It has keen eyesight and when one of them finds a freshly killed animal it wheels in the sky to signal other vultures to come and eat.

During the breeding season, the vultures build a quite small net on top of a tall tree and females lay only one egg. Incubation lasts for 56 and it is done by both parents. The chicks are fed by both adults and may fledge at about 4 months.

All pictures (main post and the 2 WS) were taken in the Chobe National Park, Botswana, in two consecutive days.

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Additional Photos by Antonio Ribeiro (ribeiroantonio) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4806 W: 470 N: 6473] (22730)
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