<< Previous Next >>

After The Feast

After The Feast
Photo Information
Copyright: Anna Eksteen (Miss_Piggy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2285 W: 5 N: 5300] (18714)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2010-10-21
Categories: Birds
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC H9, Carl Zeiss Vario-Tessar 15x Optical zoom, Digital ISO 100
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/320 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Animals feeding, part one [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2013-07-27 10:57
Viewed: 3071
Points: 46
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
White-Backed Vulture / Gyps africanus

I wanted to share this image for quite some time but for no particular reason never came so far as to do so. This image was taken way back in 2010 during our Kruger National Park holiday. I have shared this bird before as number 30 in the series of the birds of the Kruger National Park which I am currently sharing and therefore this image is not a part of the series.

We had the opportunity to capture quite a number of images of these white-backed and other vultures at a spot where lions killed a giraffe. When we arrived at the scene, the lions where nowhere to be found and we could only see the vultures really having a ball of a time feasting on the carcass.

My eye caught one of the vultures, all covered with blood, standing in the grasses close to our car and I got the opportunity to take only this one photo of it. It just climbed "out" of the Giraffe carcass and was quite a bloody mess. On the one hand it was quite thrilling to see this bloodstained bird of prey, and on the other hand also quite creepy.

The White-Backed Vulture, have been shared many times on the gallery and also general information about this particular bird. I therefore have decided to share an article I came across the Internet which is called "6 Little known facts about vultures".

Perhaps due to their ugly bald heads, vultures have always gotten a bad rap in many books. They also show up quite often in animated films as the bringers of bad news or an indication of trouble. However, if you are able to put aside your vulture prejudice/s, you might learn a few crazy things about the birds. To this end, find a list of awesome vulture facts to titillate you.

1) Vultures cannot fly well at all. Were it not for thermal currents, they wouldn't be able to stay airborne for long. They are just too heavy. However, taking advantage of rising, warm-air pockets allows these guys to soar over distances of up to 150km.

2) Vultures rely on other vultures to get around and to find food sources. They constantly watch each other to see which thermal currents to 'hop' onto next, allowing them to maintain flight. They also keep a keen eye on fellow vulture's behaviour to note small changes in movement that might suggest a bird has located a food source.

3) Given that vultures rely so much on their ability to see, it makes sense that vulture vision is up to 8 times better than that of humans. Their eyes are specifically sensitive to movement, which means that their buddies flying beneath them do not merge into the same image as the vegetation below.

4) Some vulture species are the only legitimate scavengers in the African bush. Unlike hyenas, for example, they NEVER hunt for their own food, but instead feed on predator's kills or on animals that have died due to injury or illness.

5) Different vulture species have different-shaped beaks, which mean that each feeds on a particular part of a carcass (like innards and muscle tissue or hide). Competition for food is thus reduced.

6) Vulture species are often divided into 2 groups: old world vultures, found in Africa, Asia and Europe, and new world vultures, found in the Americas. These two groups are not genetically related but have developed similar biological traits, like their form of scavenging. Source

I hope you enjoyed looking at this photo as much as I took pleasure in taking it.

PeterZ, ramthakur, josediogo1958, Merlin, Hormon_Manyer, Ishi, pierrefonds, CeltickRanger has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
You must be logged in to start a discussion.

Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • IronM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 144 W: 3 N: 345] (2608)
  • [2013-07-27 11:15]

Hi Anne,
wow what a capture of this bloody Vulture ,a bit scary heheh,
but someone has to do the bloody job in ecosystem :)
Outstanding details !
Well done !
Best regards !

Ciao Anne, great capture of fantastic bird, fine details, splendid sharpness and wonderful natural colors, very well done, my friend, have a good week end, ciao Silvio

Ciao Anna,
Bella cattura, impressionante e suggestiva. Ottimi dettagli, peccato che la luce molto dura ha messo un po in ombra l'occhio. Well done.

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2013-07-27 13:43]

Hello Anna,
Really impressive! This vulture was totally inside the Giraffe. Unique photo in great quality! Very special.

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2013-07-27 15:29]

Hello Anna,
I have viewed many photos of vultures, but never have I seen one so bloodied up like this particular bird. I would imagine it was quite surprising to see it come out of the giraffe's carcass. I'll bet it smelled pretty rank for a while until all the blood either wore off or was washed off in the rain.
You captured this one very well, showing a lot of detail and beautiful natural colors. Thank you for sharing this interesting image.

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2013-07-27 16:09]

Hi Anna,great spectacle,very rare to see,this vulture full of blood,a very particular and original capture whit the best quality of details and colors as usual,i like it! Have a nice Sunday and thanks,Luciano

Hi Anne
照的很血腥 也很清晰的禿鷹 很難得的鏡頭
看起來怕怕的 背景漂亮 謝謝分享

A blood bath in its literal sense, Anna. It's obvious the Vulture had had its fill, the way it is looking bloated.
You have captured a moment in nature that depicts reality without any human qualms and queasiness about it.
It is a natural shot and hence beyond critique on technical grounds.
You did well to share it with us, Thanks!

Hello Anna,
well... scary, creepy, thrilling, bloodbath, death.. These are things whitch am thinking of seeing this picture. But among these, also, : beauty, colorfull, reality, ecosystem... This is for what vultures exist... To keep clean... :-)Very good composition, good POV, natural colors, right sharpness. What I really like, tough, is your very interesting note. It's impressive, and I thank you for sharing this interesting updates.

Hi Anna
Bloodiest impossible... Sharp and clear picture my dear.Wonderful colours and clarity.Thank You.
Have a good Sunday!
Kind regards

Hi, Anna
There's not much I can add to the previous comments - that's an extraordinarily bloody vulture, literally spattered with gore from head to foot! Nice work getting the autofocus to latch onto the bird amongst all the intervening vegetation. Did you take any wider shots of the scene?
Best wishes, Nigel.

Hi Anne,
Wooohhh.....What a great natural photography.Scary look of this Vulture.Never seen this kind of pic.
Great composition and timing.Excellent color and details.
And thank you very much for helping me for my last post.


Hi Anna,
Although after a little delay, but... good morning, neighbour! :-) Very good photo with fantastic pose of the vulture when just looking up from eating the remains of the giraffe. Great details on the head and also on the plumage, a pity there are so many branches in the foreground but they were unavoidable. I was always surprised that vultures, after eating, are always covered with blood - than how many times do they need to clean their plumage? Thanks for sharing the great photo and the informative note. I always admire those who are able to write a decent note from their heads, not just copying some facts from wikipedia or elsewhere.
Best regards, László

hallo Anne
very good picture with great details and good sharpness
the colours are very good naturel
thanks greeting lou

  • Great 
  • Ishi Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 298 W: 21 N: 1943] (13387)
  • [2013-07-28 8:41]

Shalom Anna,

Not a pleasant sight, but an interesting picture and a very good note.

We have a large vulture, Gyps fulvus (Griffon Vulture), but we do not have the large game you have...

All the best,


Hello Anna,
Wow!Excellent capture with fine details and exceptional clarity.An important document too.
Best regards,

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2013-07-29 3:37]

Hello Anna
such a view with blood all over. Exciting composition with a good story o go along.
Lively details of this big bird and its so real.


My dear friend, this capture is stunning!

I hope you had the windows closed! Despite the scientists' theory, that vultures feed only on "dead meat" - I am not sure - the vulture who looks interested at my small, thin toes has read the right book about his Behaviour pattern :-)...

I know, they are the "health police " of nature, but frankly I cannot stand them. Particularly the smell of rotting flesh surrounding them is nauseating .

Visiting a wild animal rehabilitation centre in Hoedspruit the owner of the place found big pleasure throwing junks of meat near my bare toes when feeding the vultures. The higher I jumped, the more he aimed for my toes and I was not amused dodging the big beaks of different species of vultures.....

The sharp details in your photo, especially the droplets of blood hanging from the feathers and the top of the head, the glistening beak underline clearly that the animal had just a feast in some carcass.

Your work (including the carefully researched notes) are a welcome addition to my theme "Animals' feeding".
I think you know , why you are my favorite photographer: you report, what you are observing, every part of the scene is clearly "described" the blood on the ground, the brown bush ( obviously it had not yet rained...) the bare bloody patch on the upper chest ( bare because the vulture would not be able to reach/ preen feathers in that area.)

Thanks for sharing this interesting image.

Warm greetings from a freezing Tzaneen Dam ( must be careful, somebody once pointed out to me "freezing occurs only" when the temperature is below zero Celsius :-))

I am so glad you posted this wonderful, impressive image, enhanced by the lack of photoshopping interference.
Take care

  • Great 
  • iti Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 577 W: 0 N: 650] (7939)
  • [2013-07-31 8:57]

Hi Anne,
It had to be bloody feast. Very good shot in nice
details and colours.
Regards Jiri.

Hi Anna,

The bird is well framed. The point of view is showing the details and colours of the White-Backed Vulture on alert. The quality of the light is giving nice tints to the colours. Have a nice day.


Hello Anna

Great photo of this White-Backed Vulture
in the blood after the feast in its proud
Vulture style expressive pose and glance,
being at the level of the vulture it adds
dynamism to the photo, TFS


Amazing scene Anna! Impressive and interesting photo!

Hello Anne,
Outstanding light and details on body.Excellent capture.Nice colour and sharpness.Like it.
Thanks for sharing,
Regards and have a nice time,

Calibration Check