A great sighting was recently reported to us from Coen van den Berg, who spotted a number of ringed and/or tagged vultures feeding on a Zebra carcass at Sable Dam in Kruger National Park. Among these birds was a Lappet-Faced Vulture with a SAFRING ring (G19378) who was initially ringed as a nestling by Dr Pat Benson on October 23rd, 1992. Coen saw the individual on the 2nd September 2016, meaning this bird is nearly 24 years old!
SAFRING's previous longevity record for the Lappet-Faced Vulture was just under 10 years in the wild (Ring: G00247), and Roberts' maximum longevity is 23 years for a captive bird. So this was an exciting record for us, oustripping both of these and with the possibility of further extension in age. This bird was initially fitted with wing tags which have since come off, and it was only through Coen's great photography and a bit of luck that the ring number was legible.
If you feel you know of an older record for Lappet-Faced Vultures, please contact us at SAFRING with the details.
The great photo accompanying this article is accredited to Coen van den Berg and was linked from BirdPix.