Palmnut Vulture (Gypohierax angolensis)

 

 

The Palmnut Vulture is a vulture and monotypical to the Gypohierax genus. As a vulture it comes across as rather smallish, sized only between 57-65 in length and a wingspan of only 133-155.

 

Acutally, size is noth the only thing making this vulture the odd one out. The reason for being special simply is its diet. This vulture mostly feeds on the fruits of the palm oil tree and only to a much lesser degree on fish, crabs and amphibians. Though it does not feed on carcases or carrion as the larger vultures usually do.

 

 

Description - Characteristics: Palmnut Vulture – Vulturine Fish Eagle

 

Breeding – Clutch – Measurements – Habitat – Diet - Threats

 

Taxonomy:

Order: Accipitriformes

Family: Accipitridae

Genus: Gypohierax

Species: Palmnut Vulture

 

Scientific Name: Gypohierax angolensis

 

Names and Synomys of the Palmnut Vulture

 

Name in German: Palmgeier

Name in French: Palmiste africain

Name in Dutch: Palmgier

Name in Spanish: Buitre Palmero

Name in Italian: Avvoltoio delle palme

Name in Finnish: Palmukorppikotka

Name in Danish: Palmgrib

Name in Swedish: Palmgam

Name in Polish: Palmojad

Name in Russian: Пальмовый гриф

 

Description of the Palmnut Vulture

 

Distribution: Afrotropical, locally abundant from West Africa to Angola. In Sub-Saharan Africa: Senegal and Gambia (Senegambia) to south Mali, central Nigera and southernmost Chad, from Sudan southwards to Angola, Zambia, Mozambique; extreme northeastern South Africa (Zululand); east Kenya and northeast Tanzania, Pemba and Zanzibar.

 

Movements: Always moves to rich food grounds, otherwise adults are sedentary. Immature are nomadic

 

Habitat: Forests, tall woodland, mixed forest, cultivation of oil and raffia palms; streams, rivers, lakes, oil-palm plantations. Requires waterside natural forests to breed. Also in wooded savannah without direct access to water. Does not approach larger settlements but allows humans to approach closely. Up to sealevels of 1,500 m.

 

Behaviour: Mostly feeding directly from palm oil trees, otherwise search flights to find food.

 

egg palmnut vulture
Egg of the Palmnut Vulture - Source: By Didier Descouens - Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16927677

 

Measurements

 

Size: 57-65 cm

Tail: 19-21 cm

Weight: 1700-1900 (max. 2100) g

Wingspan: 133-155 cm

Wing: 390-461 mm

 

Voice: Generally silent, utters low growls when feeding and duck-like quacking at roost; hisses, whistling and barking.

Sexually Mature: probably in the 4th year, when changing into adult plumage.

Mating: Coincides with courtship and nest building.

 

Clutches per breeding season1 clutch

 

Breeding

 

Breeding: in Nigeria schon ab Januar bis April

Brutzeit: Januar bis August; teilweise auch zwischen Juli und November.

 

Nest: Nest made from sticks, lined with green leave and palm fronds. Sits mostly on side branches in trees, mostly palm trees.

 

Clutch: 1 egg

Egg: White elliptical egg mostly covered with darkish staints.

 

Egg Measurements and Weight

Length: 67.0-78,3 mm

Width: 52.0-57.0 mm

Ø Length x Width: 70.7x54.0 mm;

Gewicht: ≈ ??? g

 

Recurrent Clutch: unknown.

 

Breeding: ≃ 41-44 days

 

Fledging: chicken is fed by both parents; fledging after c. 90 days.

 

Dependency: After fledging the young Hooded Vulture returns for sleeping to nest for another 4 weeks.

 

 

Miscellaneous

 

Food: Fruit, fish, crabs, amphibians, invertebrates, small mammals, birds, reptiles, carrion. Eats fleshy parts of fruits of oil palms.

 

Longevity: unknown.

 

Mortality: unknown.

 

Threats: Stable population throughout most of Africa. Main threat is loss of habitat.

 

 

 

References

 

Brown, Leslie, Die Greifvögel, Ihre Biologie und Ökologie, Paul Parey Verlag Hamburg und Berlin, 1979

Ferguson-Lees, James, Christie, David, Raptors of the World, A Field Guide, Christopher Helm London, 2005, reprinted 2019

Ferguson-Lees, James & Christie, David, Raptors of the World, Houghton Mifflin Company Boston New York, 2001

Fischer, Wolfgang, Die Geier, Die Neue Brehm-Bücherei, A. Ziemsen Verlag Lutherstadt Wittenberg, 1963

Glutz von Blotzheim, Urs et. al (HG), Handbuch der Vögel Mitteleuropas, Band 4, Falconiformes, AULA-Verlag Wiesbaden, 2. durchgesehene Auflage 1989

Grzimek, Bernhard et al (HG), Grzimeks Tierleben, Band VII, Vögel 1, Kindler Verlag AG Zürich, 1968

Weick, Friedhelm, Die Greifvögel der Welt, Verlag Paul Parey Hamburg und Berlin, 1980

 

 

 

External Links

 

 

Image Credits

 

Egg of the Palmut Vulture: by Didier Descouens - Eigenes Werk, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=16927677