What to know about palm-nut vulture in Uganda?
The palm-nut vulture also called the vulturine fish eagle, is a large bird of prey in the family Accipitridae. It is the only member of the genus Gypohierax. This is an unmistakable bird as an adult has a range of body mass 1.3–1.7 kg, length 60 cm and wingspan 150 cm. This bird is an Old World vulture; only distantly related to the New World vultures, which are in a separate family, the Cathartidae. It is one of the world`s rare bird species that can be spotted in Uganda`s Murchison falls national park.
How does the palm-nut vulture in Uganda look like?
Adult Palm-nut Vulture has white plumage overall, except the black back, secondary and primary tips. The short tail is black with white terminal bar, very conspicuous in flight.
Underparts are white with the same black wing pattern than above. On the white head, we can see a bare orange-red skin around the eyes and the bill. The fairly long, hooked bill is pale grey with yellowish cere. Eyes are yellow. Legs and feet are pinkish. Both sexes are similar, with female slightly larger than male. Juvenile has brown plumage and yellowish facial skin. Bill is black and eyes are brown. Sub adult has brown plumage on body and wing coverts. Wings and tail patterns are similar to adults. The bare skin of the face is turning orange and the eyes are yellow. The bill is paler
How does the palm-nut vulture in Uganda sing and make calls?
Palm-nut Vulture is usually silent as other vultures. But during the courtship and defense displays, it produces some weak growls and high-pitched squeals.
How does the palm-nut vulture in Uganda feed?
Palm-nut Vulture unlike most birds of prey, feeds primarily on plant matter such as the fleshy husks of Oil and Raphia Palm fruits. It also takes other fruits and grain, and sometimes small vertebrates and invertebrates such as fish, crabs, amphibians and molluscs.
It is rarely seen at carcasses, but it may eat some disabled medium-sized birds or mammals, or as carrion. Its favorite food is the nut of Palm, and the Palm-nut Vulture spends most of the time often hanging below the fruit. It pulls off the fruit with the bill and then, it holds it in the feet and rends it. For other kind of food, it may take fish from the water surface, or collect other food items by paddling around at water edge or walking about on beaches and river banks. Palm-nut Vultures gather at abundant food sources.
How does the palm-nut vulture in Uganda nest?
Palm-nut Vulture builds a large platform with sticks and branches. The interior is lined with fresh leaves and palm fronds. It is usually situated at top of tall tree, sometimes in open fork, or in palm or euphorbia. Adults often stay in the surrounding of the nest-site all year round.
How does the palm-nut vulture in Uganda breed?
It breeds in forest and savannah across Murchison falls national park in Uganda, usually near river Nile, its range coinciding with that of the oil palm. It is quite approachable, like many African vultures, and can be seen near habitation, even on large hotel lawns in the Uganda.
How does the palm-nut vulture in Uganda reproduce?
Female lays single white and brown egg. Both parents share the incubation for about six to seven weeks. The downy chick is brown. It is fed and raised by both adults, and fledges about three months later.