An effect of vegetation structure on carcass exploitation by vultures in an African savanna
Carcass utilisation by vultures may be constrained by the surrounding vegetation, as high vegetation densities may leave insufficient space for the vultures to take-off. We tested this by placing carcasses at 14 sites differing in density and height of the surrounding vegetation. African White-backed Vultures Gyps africanus were reluctant to land at carcasses from which the angle required to clear the surrounding vegetation on take-off was greater than 6°, and Cape Vultures Gyps coprotheres were not observed on carcasses from which the required angle of take-off was greater than 4°. Increasing vegetation densities due to bush encroachment may therefore affect the two species to different extents.
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Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: November 1, 2009
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