White-headed Vulture | Aegypius occipitalis

The Whiteheaded Vulture is a colourful bird that closely resembles the Lappet Faced Vulture. The Whiteheaded Vulture is rare outside of large conservation areas as a pair (Male and female) will occupy a large area, which is why it is unlikely you will see 2 or more of these birds at a kill.

Roberts Birding Information On The Whiteheaded Vulture

The White-headed Vulture is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Accipitridae bird family group which includes birds such as Raptors, Old Vultures, Osprey.

White Headed VultureThe description for the White-headed Vulture (Latin name Aegypius occipitalis) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Aegypius occipitalis can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 125 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 492. You will find a picture of the White-headed Vulture on page 481.

NOTE: The reference for the information following is "Roberts Birds of Southern Africa", 7th Edition*. This edition contained a number of taxonomic changes as well as changes to English names used traditionally and in earlier editions of most bird books in South Africa. The following paragraph notes such changes if any.

There have been no changes in the common name between the Roberts 6th and Roberts 7th Edition. The Latin name for this bird is Trigonoceps occipitalis in the Roberts 6th Edition.

The White-headed Vulture is known in Afrikaans as Witkopaasvoel.

The White-headed Vulture has a height of 85 cms and weighs around 4700 gms. The head is coloured white while the bill is coloured orange. The Aegypius occipitalis has a pink coloured throat, pink legs and a black, brown coloured back. The eyes are brown.

The male Aegypius occipitalis has physical features that are slightly different from the female bird.

Take note of the bird's main distinguishing features such as colour, size and leg length relative to the body size of the bird. Colours of a bird's body parts can be helpful. Be aware what may appear brown to one person is described in Roberts Birds using some other word ... for example brown, black. See colours used in Roberts.

Head is white.

Eyes are brown.

Bill is orange.

Legs are pink.

Throat is pink.

Back is black, brown.

Photo's & Differentiating Between Male, Female & Juveniles

Please click the images below to make them larger:

Male Adult  
Female Adult Female Whiteheaded Vulture
Juvenile  
Non Breeding Plumage N/A

White Headed Vulture Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground.

This bird is a well known scavenger and rarely kills its own prey.

The diet includes small mammals such as rabbits, field mice and other rodents. Rodents are usually taken from the ground and killed using the sharp claws. The White-headed Vulture uses its hard bill to tear up the flesh.

White Headed Vulture Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The White-headed Vulture is a monogamous bird which means that the bird finds and breeds with one partner for the rest of its life. The bird lays between 1 eggs and they are coloured brown, white.

The nest is built high up in the tree canopy and is protected from predators by branches and the dense green foliage.

The White-headed Vulture is mainly found in light and densely wooded forests, where there are Mopane trees.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

The White-headed Vulture is mainly seen singly or in pairs in the wild.