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Gyps africanus

Gyps africanus (*)

Cladus: Eukaryota
Supergroup: Opisthokonta
Regnum: Animalia
Subregnum: Eumetazoa
Cladus: Bilateria
Cladus: Nephrozoa
Cladus: Deuterostomia
Phylum: Chordata
Subphylum: Vertebrata
Infraphylum: Gnathostomata
Superclassis: Tetrapoda
Classis: Aves
Subclassis: Carinatae
Infraclassis: Neornithes
Parvclassis: Neognathae
Ordo: Falconiformes
Familia: Accipitridae
Subfamilia: Aegypiinae
Genus: Gyps
Species: 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

Vernacular names
Afrikaans: Witrugaasvoël
Česky: Sup africký
Dansk: Hvidrygget grib
Deutsch: Weißrückengeier
English: White-backed Vulture
Español: Buitre de espalda blanca
Magyar: Fehérhátú keselyű
Nederlands: witruggier
Polski: Sęp afrykański

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.[1]

Like other vultures it is a scavenger, feeding mostly from carcasses of animals which it finds by soaring over savannah. It also takes scraps from human habitations. It often moves in flocks. It breeds in trees on the savannah of west and east Africa, laying one egg. The population is mostly resident.

As it is rarer than previously believed, its conservation status was reassessed from Least Concern to Near Threatened in the 2007 IUCN Red List.[2]

Use in Movies

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
2. ^ See BirdLife International (2007a. b).


* BirdLife International (2004). Gyps africanus. 2006. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. www.iucnredlist.org. Retrieved on 12 May 2006.
* BirdLife International (2007a): 2006-2007 Red List status changes. Retrieved 2007-AUG-26.
* BirdLife International (2007b): White-backed Vulture - BirdLife Species Factsheet. Retrieved 2007-AUG-26.

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Source: Wikipedia, Wikispecies: All text is available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License