Rüppell’s griffon

Rüppell’s griffon Gyps rueppellii (EEP)

ClassAves
OrderFalconiformes
FamilyAccipitridae
Size101cm
Weight6–9kg
Incubation55 days
Eggs1
Life-span50 years
Diet
scavenger

Habitat
plains, mountains

Range
Africa (from Mauritania to Kenya)


Rüppell’s griffons have extremely strong eyesight that allows them to spot carrion. Gregarious creatures, they sometimes gather in large numbers around a single carcasse. Their long hairless necks allow them to dig deep into its flesh.
 
They nest in colonies on cliffs. A single egg is incubated for 55 days. Parents share the task of feeding the young, who flies the nest at the age of about 5 months.
 
Once widespread, this species is suffering a rapid decline in numbers, especially in western Africa. It is a victim of the loss of its habitat in favour of crops and breeding land but also of the dwindling of its prey and of being hunted for its eggs or for fetish markets. Many Rüppell’s griffons have also been poisoned in Tanzania and other African countries after ingesting an anti-inflammatory drug that vets commonly use to treat livestock.




In the zoo