Vultures are obligate scavenging birds, meaning they don’t hunt for live food; they have a number of physical, physiological and behavioural traits that enable them to survive. They need these because the food that they eat (i.e. remains of dead animals) typically occurs at very low densities, spread over large areas. To find enough food to survive and thrive, vultures typically fly over huge distances in search of food, enabled by their physical ability to soar over those huge distances using little energy by harnessing updrafts of warm air.
Movement of a young Lappet-faced vulture (ID=171379) during May – October 2022. Green pin in far NW is the vulture's location on 14 October 2022. ©ESO, IAR.
Above is the map of a young Lappet-faced vulture that was
fitted with a GPS tracking device (ID=171379) in May, just before it left its nest. Since then (almost 6 months now) it has
travelled thousands of kilometres over a huge area, and in recent days it has
gone “international”, visiting the UAE (Marmoom Conservation Area and near
Hatta). The movements of this bird may
be particularly wide-ranging because this young bird is not yet old enough to
breed, so is not yet tied to an area where it will breed.