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ID issues: Cape- vs white-backed vultures

Identify and index birds in Southern Africa

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Jen
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Unread postby Jen » Tue Jan 22, 2008 1:49 pm

Any chance the pale vulture in the middle is a Cape Vulture? Not easy to see on the forum but eye looks pale to me & the bird is much lighter. I took this picture in Feb 2007 on the Red Rocks Road.

Image
Any suggestions... can I be so lucky???? :?
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Cape Vulture

Unread postby Richprins » Wed Jan 23, 2008 9:53 pm

Yup, Jen, I think you were that lucky!

Cape vultures are regularly seen in Kruger, although more rarely over the past few years, in my experience.

They mostly nest in the Drakensberg (Swadini area) 100km away!

If memory serves, a vulture was even tracked to Kruger from the Magaliesberg near Pretoria, 400km away!

Maybe someone can shed more light on that!

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Unread postby arks » Sun Feb 10, 2008 10:50 pm

I'm wondering whether this may perhaps be a Cape vulture?

ImageImage

Or am I being "optimistic"? :?
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Unread postby Imberbe » Mon Feb 11, 2008 12:17 am

Look for yellow eyes in Cape Vultures. Do not look as if these are yellow! :( (Or maybe the eyes is just not showing on the photo?)

I think it is African White-backed.

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Unread postby Johan van Rensburg » Tue Feb 12, 2008 3:17 am

Hi, Arks.

There is a good discussion that started on 12 Jul 2007 in THIS thread following a query by Anja on Cape/white-backed vultures if you care to dig a bit (down to around pg 24 :roll: ).

Both these vulture have crop patches and "landing lights".

If you get to that series of posts, you can take what TG has posted as gospel!

Although not impossible, chances of Capes in Kruger are slim.
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Unread postby arks » Tue Feb 12, 2008 5:41 am

Johan van Rensburg wrote:Although not impossible, chances of Capes in Kruger are slim.

Hi Johan:

I will go a digging when I'm not falling asleep. :wink: Meanwhile, I should have noted that I saw these vultures in Kgalagadi, not Kruger :redface: Does that up the chances?
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Unread postby Caracal » Thu Feb 14, 2008 1:56 pm

My guess is that your photo is that of a Whitebacked Vulture.
The head of a Cape Vulture is covered in a white down but the bluish neck is bare.
The vulture in your photo seems to have whitish down on it's neck.
Was the other one a juvenile on a nest..if so that would also lead me to believe that it is a whitebacked vulture because Cape Vultures build their nests on cliff edges. Whitebacked vultures build their nests in trees, preferably tall thorn trees. Hope this helps.

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Unread postby arks » Thu Feb 14, 2008 10:10 pm

Thanks, michele, useful information! 8)
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Re: ID issues: Cape- vs white-backed vultures

Unread postby Jock » Mon Aug 18, 2008 2:30 am

Here is a picture of a Cape Vulture Yolande Oelsen asked me to post for her. I will let her explain what is happening in them.

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Re: ID issues: Cape- vs white-backed vultures

Unread postby Yolandé Oelsen » Mon Aug 18, 2008 10:35 am

Hi and thanks again to Jockelina for the postings.

Again this was taken at Moholoholo Wildlife Rehab centre in Klaserie ( near Swadini)
A few of us were alout to go into the cage with the vultures. This was defenitely more scary than going in with the Bateleurs in their cage ( see photo's under Bateleur discussions)
These are really BIG birds with huge beaks. I was gloved and given a piece of raw meat in my hand, under cover. The moment the meat was visible to the vultures, this huge cape vulture came and sat on my arm and ate out of my hand. :dance: As you can see in the pic he is very heavy - I could not keep my arm straight and up.
AND
There was another vulture on the ground having a go at my toes, as I had on open shoes. And I dont think there would be much toe left when that beak is finished with it.

Great experience! Defenitely worhtwhile to go to Moholoholo before your next Kruger trip.
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Re: ID issues: Cape- vs white-backed vultures

Unread postby JenB » Sun Mar 22, 2009 8:33 am

Seen just west of Satara on the 17th of March.
Please help, I thought they were White-backed but looking at the pics I'm not sure anymore. They seemed considerably larger than the other White-backs but the eyes are not golden.
Image

Image

Thanx! :D
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Re: ID issues: Cape- vs white-backed vultures

Unread postby Moegaai » Sun Mar 22, 2009 6:54 pm

Hi Jen,

What I've learnt about these two species, is that you can't reliably tell them apart based on size and colouration (except of course if the White-backed Vulture's back is in fact visible).

The only truly reliable method to use in this instance, is the eye colour. White-backed Vulture has a black eye whereas Cape Vulture has a yellow eye.

Accordingly it's safe to say your initial ID was correct - these are White-backed Vultures!

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Re: ID issues: Cape- vs white-backed vultures

Unread postby JenB » Wed Sep 17, 2014 10:28 am

I cannot resist digging out this topic again! :lol:

We were watching a hyena on a carcass and the moment this guy landed he caught my eye.
He definitely has a honey coloured eye. I have about 100 pics of him, some bad, some better but the difference in eye colour is clear.

Image

Image

Image

Image

I was sure once I went through my pics that I'd have at least one with his wings open but he never took flight. He just casually ran off when the hyena gave chase.

:hmz: I'm a bit apprehensive to call it CG because it seems as if it would be like finding a needle in a haystack in Kruger?
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