It appears that vultures are not some dumb animals that just wait for something to feed on. From my point of view they do remember people, even after a longer period. When I returned to see two Rüppell’s Vultures, I was immediately greeted by them. They came to me looking was I up to.
Even the Griffon Vultures came to see me and for a while sat beside me. The pecking order gives the Griffon Vulture an advantage over the Rüppell’s Vulture. Not only is the Griffon first at the carcas even with anything else, the Griffon plays a dominant role.
As long as the Griffons were proverbially laying siege to the visitor, the Rüppell’s had to step back on the sidelines, waiting for the Griffons to go. Which is what they eventually did. Then the Rüppells came to my and actually kept me busy for quite a while.
Can Vultures be jealous?
It is hard to believe but I found out that Vulture can be jealeous in the most positive sense of the meaning. Also, they try to get rid of another vulture which somehow is standing in their way.
It is known that Griffons at the carcase employ some tricks to chase away other vulture. They mostly seize the moment of surprise, simply by jumping with the full weight of their body onto the back of the other vulture.
By using this technique smaller vulture can easily chase away larger vultures. The larger vulture that was attacked this way simply utters a whailing sound and clears the field.
This technique was first described by Claus König, when he described the behaviour of Griffon Vultures on the carcas in Spain, back in the 1980s.
The situation was that a Griffon was sitting on a pole in front of me and I was taking some shots when I noticed one of the Rüppell’s getting uneasy about the Griffon receiving so much attention.
The Rüppell’s Vulture took a run and jumped onto the back of the Griffen, wich was moved off the pole by brute force, and then did no more than uttering a whailing sound and walked away without any fight.
Griffons are known to get into fights at carcases and really staging mass brawls when there are too many vultures at one carcas. In the underlying situation there was no such attempt to attack the other vulture.
The Rüppell’s Vulture took the place of the Griffon and sat there be be captured on camera. This was quite an experience.
The other experience I want to write about was quite phenomenal. One of the two Rüppell’s went off to collect a small bunch of straw which it brought back laying it in front of me. Obviously, the vulture brought some nestbuilding material to me. Sort of mating ritual. Can you believe it?
After laying down this gift the Rüppell’s went round to bite his comrade into the tail and chasing it off the patch only to return and sitting with me for quite a while. During that time it was possible to touch the bird.
But, always be careful and don’t offer one of your fingers. These tow Rüppell’s have become really affected to me and are by now very familiar with me too.
In case you are interested in more of European Vulture Conservation please refer to their site: 4vultures.org
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