Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Critically Endangered

White-headed Vulture (Trigonoceps occipitalis)


Taxonomy

French: Vautour à tête blanche German: Wollkopfgeier Spanish: Buitre cabeciblanco
Taxonomy:

Vultur occipitalis

Burchell

, 1824,

Matlowing River, Botswana

.

Usually considered sufficiently distinctive to merit monotypic genus, but sometimes placed in Aegypius with Sarcogyps calvus, A. monachus and Torgos tracheliotos. Monotypic.

Distribution:

Senegambia E to Eritrea (including Dahlak Archipelago), Ethiopia and Somalia, then S to N Namibia, NE South Africa and Swaziland.

Descriptive notes

72–85 cm; 3300–5300 g, mean 4260 g; wingspan 207–230 cm. Pied plumage, angular head, high neck ruff and bright facial colours notable. Chunky, with heavy... read more

Voice

Chattering calls heard when competing at carcasses with other vultures, but otherwise silent.

Habitat

Dry woodland, thornbush and tree savanna, generally not extending into drier steppe or denser... read more

Food and feeding

Carrion and bone fragments from carcasses large and small, perhaps more usually the latter in the form of roadkills, reptiles, etc. ... read more

Breeding

Laying usually in dry season: Oct–Jan in W & NE Africa (where season lasts until Jun); all months in E Africa, depending on... read more

Movements

No regular movements of adults reported, even in W Africa. Adult pairs apparently sedentary within... read more

Status and conservation

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED. CITES II. Very large range, but small and rapidly declining population. Not considered of conservation concern until 2007, then listed as Vulnerable... read more

Recommended citation

Kemp, A.C., Kirwan, G.M., Christie, D.A. & Sharpe, C.J. (2018). White-headed Vulture (Trigonoceps occipitalis). 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 https://www.hbw.com/node/53004 on 22 August 2018).