Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Critically Endangered

Hooded Vulture (Necrosyrtes monachus)


French: Vautour charognard German: Kappengeier Spanish: Alimoche sombrío

Cathartes monachus


, 1823,



Race pileatus differs only in size, which varies clinally, increasing from small in W to large in E & S. Species perhaps better treated as monotypic. Two subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • N. m. monachus (Temminck, 1823) – sub-Saharan Africa from S Mauritania and Senegal E through Niger and Chad to W Sudan, South Sudan and N Uganda.
  • N. m. pileatus (Burchell, 1824) – E Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia and W Somalia S (away from densely forested areas and continuous desert) to N Namibia and Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique and NE South Africa.
  • Descriptive notes

    54–56 cm; 1500–2600 g; wingspan 150–180 cm. Small vulture with long thin bill and pink face that can flush bright purple. Sexes alike. Juvenile usually with... read more


    Often silent. At nest and while feeding, gives thin, quiet squeals, chittering sounds, and barks. read more


    Mainly open woodland and savanna, also forest edge; generally absent from desert and dense forest,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Carrion and some small insects, including termites; also food scraps and excreta around human habitation. Occasionally feeds on fruits of... read more


    In W Africa and Kenya breeds throughout year, especially Nov–Jul; otherwise, laying usually after rainy season, Oct–Mar (... read more


    Probably sedentary in most areas, but may range over 200 km when not breeding, especially juveniles... read more

    Status and conservation

    CRITICALLY ENDANGERED. Probably undergoing extremely rapid decline. Global population currently estimated at no more than 197,000 individuals. Until recently was common to... read more

    Recommended citation

    Kemp, A.C., Christie, D.A., Marks, J.S. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). Hooded Vulture (Necrosyrtes monachus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 27 February 2020).