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Facts about Lappet Faced Vultures


The lappet faced vulture is one of the largest vultures, about 1.15m tall and with a wingspan of over 2.5m.  They can live up to 40 years, and are usually solitary birds or live in pairs.  The name 'lappet' comes from the large, fleshy, ear-like folds or 'lappets' on the side of the face.  

They make their nests at the top of trees, normally thorn trees. The nest is constructed of sticks, and lined with grass and fur from carcasses.   Only one egg is laid.

They are scavengers, and their diet consists mainly of carrion, but they will eat smaller live mammals if carcasses are scarce.  They rely on their excellent eyesight to find food.

Their distinctive bald red head and neck have evolved to save having to preen blood off their feathers after having plunged deep into a dead carcass.

They tend to be one of the first to arrive at a dead carcass, as they are the only vultures strong enough to  through the dead animals hide with their powerful hooked bill. 

Their size also intimidates other vultures into letting them feed off the carcass first.