Wales

Vulture takes perch on Bridgend house roof

Vulture spotted in Bridgend
Image caption The bird looked at home perched on a house roof instead of the savannah

A vulture has swapped the wild landscapes of Africa or America for the rooftops of a south Wales town.

The winged scavenger, estimated at around 3ft (91cm) tall, was spotted surveying the landscape from a rooftop in Bridgend.

Experts believe the bird may have escaped from a falconry centre or a local bird collector.

Neighbour Simon Keenor said: "It was a bit of a shock to see a vulture staring around looking for its next meal."

Mr Keenor was able to snap a photo of the vulture before it took to the air again.

He added: "Normally we get a few sparrows and magpies around here - not giant birds of prey.

'Handler'

"But it seemed quite at home even though he must be thousands of miles away from his usual haunts."

Vultures, which are not native to the UK, are among the largest birds in the world. They feed on the carcasses of dead animals.

The RSPB said birds found in the UK are "usually quite tame" and urged people to report sightings of it.

A spokeswoman said: "It's more than likely that it's a captive bird.

"From the photograph this one looks like an American Black Vulture, which are commonly kept in falconry circles.

"The bird poses no threat to the public as they are purely scavengers.

"They are usually quite tame so if they do fly down to land on someone it is because they think it's their handler and not because they are attacking that person."

Escapee

She said further sightings of the bird should be reported to the Independent Bird Register, which keeps a record of lost birds and will help capture and return them to their owners.

The RSPB said the last sighting of a vulture in Wales was in Carmarthen in 2006, which again was presumed to be an escapee.

The closest population of wild vultures to Wales are Griffon vultures which reside in southern Europe, north Africa and Asia.

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