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This impressive bird frequently flies high scanning the plains below for carrion and recent kills.
It has excellent vision that can resolve detail from a great distance.
Rüppell's Griffon is now considered to be the World's highest flying bird -one was confirmed to have been sucked into the jet engine of an aircraft flying at 11,000 metres asl over Côte d'Ivoire on the 29th November, 1973.
Rüppell's Griffons have a specialized variant of the haemoglobin ? (alpha) D subunit which has a high affinity for oxygen even when the O2 partial pressure is very low -as in the upper troposphere.
These birds have a phemomenal ability to identify rising thermals which they exploit to gain height. They soar between thermals with very little effort and so can cover large areas with minimal energy use.
The World population is only 30,000 (=the population of a small Scottish town) and declining.
This bird deserves our respect and protection but sadly is being seriously threatened by illegal poisoning -especially by the pesticide Furadan which is highly toxic to birds!
EDITOR: It seems to me that the companies are going to keep making it, saying it is safe if used properly. See Furadanfacts.com. The villagers are going to keep using it, because they dont know better. The only chance is to get the politicians in those countries to effectively ban it (as Steve has suggested in another post). How do we do that? Does anyone know the Prime Minister of Kenya?
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