White-backed vultures are Africa’s most common vulture. They have large, broad wings and can soar and circle for hours in search of carrion (dead and decaying animal). Excellent eyesight enables them to spot food when flying high in the sky and they will even watch other vultures and follow if they make a quick descent. Hundreds of vultures can quickly gather at a large carcass.
The white-backed vulture's black eyes and hooked black bill contrasts with their pale crown and hindneck. The plumage of white-backed vultures becomes paler as they age. Juveniles are darker with lighter brown streaks on their feathers.
African white-backed vultures breed at the beginning of the dry season, nesting in small colonies of 2 to 13 birds. Nest are made of sticks, lined with grass and leaves usually in a fork or crown of a large tree. They lay a single egg which is incubated for 56 days. Chicks are pale grey and are reared by both parents, each taking turns feeding the chick until it fledges at approx. 120 days of age.
The population has been impacted by a number of threats, resulting in a decline in numbers in recent years. Threats include loss and conversion of vulture habitat for agriculture, the decline in the population of wild ungulates (reducing food availability) and the persecution and poisoning of white-backed vultures