In Africa, vultures eat the most meat of all the other predators put together. Within about 30 minutes, African vultures can completely strip o large antelope carcass of all its meat. The most commonly seen are the white-backed vultures and they can eat 1 kg (2.23 pounds) in only 2 minutes!
- Photo of a white-backed vulture. Vultures are endangered and some are critically endangered and on the brink of extinction and they might be the most important animal out there for getting rid of and controlling diseases spread by rotting carcasses.
African Vultures as Scavengers
African Vultures are gentle birds that have no history of attacking humans. They are carnivorous and most of them feed on dead animals as scavengers.
They got a keen sight that makes it possible to see decaying carcasses from flight. Those of them that scavenge on dead animals are called Old World Vultures, commonly found in Africa.
Almost all of them on this continent have a bald head (no feathers on the head). One striking thing about them is that some urinate on themselves to cool down body temperature.
African Vultures don’t attack healthy animals, but they can kill wounded ones. They may not be able to feed on the kill immediately if the skin or meat is hard. So, they oftentimes wait until it begins to decay.
Interestingly, they have an acidic stomach (PH=1) which encourages the biological adaptation of corrosive digestion. In this corrosive process, they automatically burn the harmful bacteria and other microorganisms consumed during feeding.
Lammergeier, or Bearded vulture
A lammergeier, or bearded vulture is an impressive bird. It is as long as a five-year old child is tall, and weighs twice the weight of the average domestic cat.
- It lives in the mountains of Africa, Europe and Asia.
- Classified as ‘near threatened’.
The lammergeier or bearded vulture roosts on the cliff tops of mountains in Europe, Asia and Africa. It is the only vertebrate (which is an animal with a spine) that feeds almost completely on bone.
African vultures mythology:
The Zulu nation, believe the vulture is the Mother of this earth, and gave birth to the Zulu nation. Unlike westerners, who shiver at the mere sight of a vulture, and some think of it as a bad omen. To the Zulus, however, this great bird signifies safety and purity.
It is believed, that a vulture (generally speaking) is also responsible in keeping the balance between life and death in order. Marveled for their magical ability of eating death, and then also giving birth, the drawings of gods were often drawn/painted with vultures or symbols of the vulture. Vultures were and are often associated with rebirth in many cultures.