Lappet-faced Vulture | Aegypius tracheliotus

The Lappet Faced Vulture is a very large bird and is one of the largest Vulture species in Southern Africa which might be confused with the smaller, more rare Whiteheaded Vulture. It is also known as the African Black Vulture or the African King Vulture, this huge bird relies heavily on the thermals in order for it to reach the heights it does.

Robert's Information On The Lappet Faced Vulture

South african Lappet faced vultureThe Lappet-faced Vulture is a Southern African bird that belongs to the Accipitridae bird family group which includes birds such as Raptors, Old Vultures, Osprey.

The description for the Lappet-faced Vulture (Latin name Aegypius tracheliotus) can be found in the 7th Edition of the Roberts Birds of Southern Africa. The Aegypius tracheliotus can be quickly identified by its unique Roberts identification number of 124 and the detailed description of this bird is on page 491. You will find a picture of the Lappet-faced 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 Torgos tracheliotus in the Roberts 6th Edition.

The Lappet-faced Vulture is known in Afrikaans as Swartaasvoel.

The Lappet-faced Vulture has a height of 105 cms and weighs around 6500 gms. The head is coloured pink, red while the bill is coloured yellow. The Aegypius tracheliotus has a pink coloured throat, blue, grey legs and a brown coloured back. The eyes are brown.

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 pink, red.

Eyes are brown.

Bill is yellow.

Legs are blue, grey.

Throat is pink.

Back is brown.

Photo's & Differentiating Between Male, Female & Juveniles

Please click the images below to make them larger:

Male Adult Adult Lappet Faced Vulture
Female Adult Same as above, except larger.
Non Breeding Plumage N/A

Lappet Faced Feeding Habits ...

This bird forages for food on the ground.

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

Lappet Faced Breeding, Habitat and Nesting Habits ...

The Lappet-faced 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 white.

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

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

The bird is found in the arid and semi-arid regions of Southern Africa and it can withstand high day and night temperatures.

This bird is very common in most of the Southern African Forests.

Seen in Flocks, Singles or Pairs Normally ...

Can be seen in flocks or by itself usually on fresh kills...