Common Name: Hooded Vulture
Scienctific Name: Necrosyrtes monachus
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Falconiformes
Family: Accipitridae
Genus: Necrosyrtes
Species: N. monachusfree html hit counter
Necrosyrtes monarchies are the smallest and weakest vultures in their range. They are dark brown, have short tails, and thin, weak beaks. The bare skin on their faces is a red-pink. Their head may become bluish when the birds are excited or greenish-white when frightened. They have weak feet that are adapted for walking and running.
Their wings are long, and the birds can soar for a long time. The beak is particularly long and narrow, unlike other vultures. The bird gets its common name from the hood-like thing that covers the lower throat. N. monarchies may be mistaken for the Lappet-faced Vulture in color, but N. monarchies are only half the size. N. monarchies are known as Old World Vultures. They range widely in Africa south of the Sahara Desert and are found mostly in West Africa. These birds are the only vultures in Africa that are commonly found around towns and villages. They depend on the presence of places like slaughterhouses and open markets.
Their habitats include open plains, savannas, forests, coastal areas, and villages. This vulture species will venture into wet forest areas. N. monarchies are not worried about going extinct. Their species is known as the least concerned. There is no change in how many there are because they only die from natural causes.
These birds also do not migrate so they do not die during a hard flight. N. monarchies are scavengers that consume food from a variety of sources. They are opportunistic feeders with decaying flesh from animal carcasses making up most of their diet. Because of its small size and weak bill, it waits its turn at a carcass to pick up minor scraps left behind by larger vultures. In towns and cities, they search for food in refuse dumps and gutters.
On seashores, they feed at low tide on mussels, spiny lobsters, mollusks, dead fish and other stranded food. They are not picky eaters so they will also eat grasshoppers, grubs, and locusts. Like other vultures, N. monarchies cannot expect to eat every day since carcasses might not be available. Even young vultures survive well without daily feedings. N. monarchies do not have predators and they rarely die.
They live near towns and places where there are people, so predators usually stay away. Also, the people they live around aren’t aloud to kill the native birds. N. monarchies clearly have their life planed out so that they are comfortable. I thought it was interesting how a N. monarchies hunts or finds its food. Because they are smaller than other vultures in the area, the N. monarchies can take off more quickly using a thermal to gain altitude and is often the first to find a carcass. N. monarchies detect dead animals by sight. They sometimes gorge so heavily that they can barely fly.
Length: Male: 22-24 inches Female: 24-26 inches Weight: Male: 44 1/2 pounds Female: slightly larger Wingspan: Male: 5 feet Female: 5 feet
Author: Andrew M
Published: 02/2007
Bibliography “Hooded Vulture, from Wikipedia.”, 2001 “Hooded Vulture: Necrosyrtes monachus”, 2005 Butchart, Duncan “Wild Watch”, 2003