Ruppell's vultures, named after a German explorer, are large African vultures. Much of their day is spent soaring in the air on thermal currents, at some surprisingly high altitudes, and using their keen eyesight to spot long forgotten carcasses. They home in on the carcass in flocks and with all the tasty flesh gone, these scavengers will eat what's left over, using their powerful hooked beaks to tear skin and break bones with ease. A decline in the range of these very social birds is partly a result of their being used in black magic.
Scientific name: Gyps rueppellii
Soaring seven miles above the plains, vultures spot their next meal.
Flying at a height of over 11,000 metres, the Rüppell's Vulture is the world's highest-flying bird.
Species range provided by WWF's Wildfinder.
The Ruppell's vulture can be found in a number of locations including: Africa. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.
The following habitats are found across the Ruppell's vulture distribution range. Find out more about these environments, what it takes to live there and what else inhabits them.
Discover what these behaviours are and how different plants and animals use them.
Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web
Population trend: Decreasing
Year assessed: 2008
Classified by: IUCN 3.1
Rüppell's Vulture or Rüppell's Griffon Vulture (Gyps rueppellii) is a large vulture that occurs throughout the Sahel region of central Africa. The current population of 30,000 is in decline due to loss of habitat and other pressures. Also known as Rüppell's Griffon, Rueppell's Griffon, Rüppell's Griffin Vulture, Rueppell's Vulture and other variants, Rüppell's Vulture is named in honor of Eduard Rüppell, a 19th-century German explorer, collector, and zoologist. Rüppell's Vulture is considered to be the highest-flying bird, with confirmed evidence of a flight at an altitude of 11,000 metres (36,100 ft) above sea level.
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