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Vulture, Cape

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

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Bahamut
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Vulture, Cape

Unread postby Bahamut » Mon Sep 29, 2008 5:00 am

Cape Vulture / Kransaasvoël ( Gyps coprotheres )

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Info to follow ...
Last edited by Bahamut on Sun Feb 19, 2012 7:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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Re: Vulture, Cape

Unread postby Johann » Mon Sep 29, 2008 7:51 am

Saw 5 individuals circling above the Abel Erasmus pass when returning from KNP last week. It is a good place to see them. There's a breeding colony of about 500 strong just around the corner.
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Re: Vulture, Cape

Unread postby DinkyBird » Sun Oct 12, 2008 8:20 pm

GGNP - Oct 2008. Not master photos by all means ... but proof :wink:

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Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby sprunkey » Sun Jan 25, 2009 11:08 pm

Cape Vulture?

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Not taken at the same time:

Image

Thanks

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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby deefstes » Mon Jan 26, 2009 9:36 am

Hi sprunkey,

Your second bird is indeed a Cape Vulture. From pictures like this it would be very difficult to seperate Cape Vulture from White-backed Vulture but purely based on the distribution I'd say it's safe to tick Cape Vulture. The birds do appear quite pale which is also a good indicator that it's Cape Vulture.
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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby Rusty Justy » Mon Jan 26, 2009 12:23 pm

Can't you seen the pale eye in the first Vulture Pic???! :roll: :lol: Just Kidding..........Agree with the Cape Vulture!
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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby Moegaai » Tue Feb 10, 2009 10:11 am

Here is seemingly a straightforward pic of (probably) a White-backed Vulture.

Image

The reason for posting: go have a look at all the books - they ALL have conflicting underwing illustrations! Only the "Birds for Africa" (and I guess therefore also SASOL as they share illustrations) show the fairly prominent dark forewing on the leading edge. But with the seeming bit of black spotting ahead of the flight feathers actually points to Cape Vulture (possibly imm)! It doesn't show the two bare shoulder patches that are typically found on Cape, but that doesn't always show either...

Maybe a bit of a discussion to get to the bottom of how to "easily" differentiate between the two species, both in flight and perched?

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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Tue Feb 10, 2009 10:35 am

Check out this thread Vultures, ID Issues: Cape- vs White-backed Vultures... unfortunately there is NO easy way out! :twisted:
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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby Moegaai » Tue Feb 10, 2009 2:42 pm

Thanks Johan - here I was trying to help everyone out by figuring out an easy way to differentiate, and you have to go and mess us all up with such a link!!! :twisted: :wink:

So the yellow eye is a key, is it?! Well, if so, see this pic of the same bird (perched with some other darker-coloured Vultures), prior to flying:

Image

So, unless I'm TOO desparate or smoked something way too cheap this morning, is that a yellow eye I'm seeing!? So was it a CV or not!? :hmz:

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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby Richprins » Tue Feb 10, 2009 8:18 pm

Hey, Moegaai!

Distinguishing these vultures can really be a nightmare, if they are at various stages of adulthood!

1.The yellow eye is indeed diagnostic for Cape, which is regularly seen in Kruger. However, my theory is that much of the time low light conditions, or funny camera angle, leads to the expanded iris making the eye seem black!

2. In adult birds, the Cape is perceptably larger than the White-backed, with the clear dark shoulder patch.

3. At a kill, the ADULT Cape seem to have a slight dominance over the others...

So to answer your question, especially with such pale colouring, I think that is indeed an adult Cape vulture!

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Re: Identification Help - Raptors

Unread postby DotDan » Wed Feb 11, 2009 6:32 am

To be honest Moegaai, When I first saw that bunch sitting in the tree, that Vulture did stand out to me as well. Thanks for clearing it up. :thumbs_up:

He kinda stands out of the crowd :lol:
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Re: Vulture, Cape

Unread postby arks » Sun Mar 01, 2009 12:04 am

Seen on 23 October 2008 on the Shimuwini loop road — site of a pungent elephant carcass, so lots of vultures, but only this one standout Capie 8) :wink:

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Re: Vulture, Cape

Unread postby Hausa » Thu May 14, 2009 2:15 pm

How can you tell the difference from a white-backed vulture? I tended to ID these two species depending on location and based on probabilities (unless had a chance to see the back of the vulture on flight).

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Re: Vulture, Cape

Unread postby Imberbe » Fri May 15, 2009 12:32 am

The eye is a sure bet.

Cape has a yellow eye, whilst the White-backed has a dark eye.

Note: The immature Cape has a dark eye too.
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Re: Vulture, Cape

Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Mon Nov 30, 2009 3:57 pm

To see a Cape vulture in Kruger is a special sighting. This one was sunning itself just outside Punda a week ago. The honey-coloured eye is quite obvious in this shot.

Image
Large view

That light eye is, like Imberbe says, the clincher, but by no means the only way to make an ID. For Cape vs White-backed:
- the "landing lights" are way larger (like the diffs between the old crown coin vs a R5-piece... for those that can remember our money prior to 1961!) and coloured reddish in a juvenile; purple to bluish in older birds.
- neck more robust... reddish in a juv, bluish in adult birds
- head and neck more sparsely feathered
- in flight the under-wing pattern is very different... less contrast between underwing coverts and the rest of the wing.
- line of dark spots on greater wing coverts...

All of these are difficult to use in isolation, and should actually become part of a combination of features when you have to make a call.
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