Results 1 to 3 of 3

Thread: Vulture in Extremadura

  1. #1
    Moderator Brian S's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Suffolk, UK

    Default Vulture in Extremadura

    I have recently been sent (and been given permission to use) these three pics of a vulture, taken in Extremadura. As can be seen they have many characters associated with Ruppell's Griffon, however there seems to be some debate : -
    ' A Griffon expert declared it as a Eurasian, and so the photographer has decided to 'back down' and not send it in, but I believe it's a strange-looking Rüppell's (or hybrid?!).'

    The discussions have generally gone down the right lines, starting (importantly) with ageing the bird - it's seems to be an adult, based on neck ruff colour and feather form, bill and eye colour and (in my opinon) general appearance (with lots of very similar feathers, even if of slightly differing ages and consequently wear). The flat-topped head seems wrong for Eur. Griffon (but which from pics looks ideal for Rüppell's). The overall appearance of the bird is spot-on for a Rüppell's, with pale wings contrasting with otherwise rather dark upperparts (something I've only noticed by looking at pics, and especially due to a poor shot of a young bird caught, ringed and released in S Spain), but the rather strange overall tawny colour is very off-putting and has clearly lead to the idea it my be a hybrid. The bill also shows a dark mark towards the distal part of the cutting edge (of the upper mandible at least).

    Each body feather, has a (wide) terminal band, and are not streaked like a Eur. Griffon would be (without going into distinctions between the different feather tracts, some of which (gr coverts from memory) can occasionally show a pattern not disimilar to this in some griffons), and with wear, these would become distinct cresents or spots, as in Rüppell's. But the colour and length of these terminal bands appears at odds with a typical Rüppell's; the extra down on the neck also appears at odds with a typical Rüppell's too (where the skin colour -which changes with ?temperature/mood- often shows through), and perhaps the overall colour is wrong not being the deep and dark sepia of Ruppell's.

    Below is a link to Ruppell's images as a starting point, but I would be grateful for other comments.

    Brian S

    [On the last image below the vulture discussed is the front-on bird on the far left]
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Canterbury &, episodically, SW Spain


    Unfortunately, although I've seen plenty of Griffon Vultures in SW Spain in recent years, I still haven't come across a Ruppell's so am hesitant to pronounce judgement on this bird (although Brian's hybrid hypothosis seems a tempting solution). However, this thread does give me the opportunity to mention a Griffon I saw distantly whilst birding from the terrace of my house in Alcala de los Gazules (tough life ain't it!) in May 2008. Initially, this bird seemed to have a white back. However, once the heart rate dropped and I was able to scope it I could see that the back was actually very pale tawny and that the bird was otherwise identical (size, shape etc) to the Griffons it was with soaring. For some reason (arrested moult?) the back was bleached very pale tawny buff. Whilst this is clearly not the case here, it does serve to demonstrate that not all Griffons look like the typical textbook illustration!


  3. #3
    Junior Member
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Kreis Recklinghausen


    It looks quite similar to the bird from Uganda in the collection you linked to, and I assume Rüppell’s can be quite buffy. However, its belly is a bit less clearly marked than I would expect, so I expect your hybrid theory shouldn’t be dismissed.

Similar Threads

  1. Potential disaster for top birding site in Extremadura Spain
    By Collalba in forum Birding Headlines
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: October 24th, 2013, 11:23 AM
  2. Trip in Extremadura
    By carlos in forum European Rare Birds
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: May 8th, 2011, 09:28 PM
  3. Trip Advice - Extremadura, Spain
    By Eric Quinn in forum Say Hello
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: January 25th, 2011, 09:12 PM
  4. 3rd Extremadura Bird Report - call for records
    By John Muddeman in forum Surfbirds Noticeboard
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: March 11th, 2009, 02:17 PM
  5. Photographing Birds In Extremadura
    By Firstlight in forum Information Wanted
    Replies: 0
    Last Post: January 3rd, 2008, 07:58 PM

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts