Gyps africanus (*)
Gyps africanus Salvadori, 1865
* Notizia Storica dei lavori fatti dalla classe di Sci. Fisiche e Mat. della R. Acc. Sci. Torino p.133
The White-backed Vulture (Gyps africanus) is an Old World vulture in the family Accipitridae, which also includes eagles, kites, buzzards and hawks. It is closely related to the European Griffon Vulture, G. fulvus. Sometimes it is called African White-backed Vulture to distinguish it from the Oriental White-backed Vulture—nowadays usually called Indian White-rumped Vulture--to which it was formerly believed to be closely related.
The White-backed Vulture is a typical vulture, with only down feathers on the head and neck, very broad wings and short tail feathers. It has a white neck ruff. The adult’s whitish back contrasts with the otherwise dark plumage. Juveniles are largely dark. This is a medium-sized vulture; its body mass is 4.2 to 7.2 kilograms (9.3–16 lb), it is 94 cm (37 in) long and has a 218 cm (86 in) wingspan.
As it is rarer than previously believed, its conservation status was reassessed from Least Concern to Near Threatened in the 2007 IUCN Red List.
This species is used in the television series Numb3rs, Series 3, Episode 12 ("Nine Wives"), where it swoops in to attack the body of an unconscious girl collapsed on the side of the road. In the arid American setting, it is entirely out of place.
1. ^ http://www.arkive.org/species/GES/birds/Gyps_africanus/more_info.html?section=factsAndStatus
* BirdLife International (2004). Gyps africanus. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 12 May 2006.
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