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With a wingspan up to nine feet wide, the lappet-faced vulture is the largest vulture in Africa. Its name comes from the folds of skin on either side of its neck called lappets. These powerful birds are able to scare most other birds and even some mammals away when protecting a carcass on which it is feeding.

lappet faced vulture outside

Did You Know?

The lappet-faced vulture is one of the most aggressive of African birds. It possesses one of the strongest beaks, usually arriving last to the carcass due to its ability to tear off skin, tendons, and ligaments that are too tough for smaller scavengers. In fact, they are able to strip a small antelope carcass to the bone within 20 minutes.

Quick Facts

Latin Name:
Torgos tracheliotos

Africa and Middle East

Savannah, semi-desert and desert

2.6 to 3.8 ft

Up to 50 years

Zoo Location:

Carrion, small mammals and birds

Risk Status:
Species at Risk (IUCN—Vulnerable)