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Dressed for the occasion

Dressed for the occasion
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: 2009-10-19
Categories: Birds
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC H9, Digital ISO 100
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/500 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Kruger NP 2009
Theme(s): Kruger National Park 2, Birds of South Africa 3 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2009-11-01 0:15
Viewed: 4665
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 88
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
White-headed vulture / Aegypius occipitalis (Trigonoceps occipitalis)

It felt like only yesterday when I said good bye, just before we departed on our vacation to the Kruger National Park. Time surely flies when one is busy having a great time, and before we wanted it to be over we where on our way back home again. It is said that all good things come to an end, but there where still so many things I wanted to see and photograph, that I did not want this good time to come to an end. Like the cheetah (which evaded us for the entire 3 weeks while we toured the park), the red headed weaver (which we saw in the far distance only) and the klipspringer (of which we only found 3 – unfortunately all of these were too far for any photos). Regrettably with the last two the photographic opportunities were rather poor. In the same breath I must add that we where fortunate to capture some wonderful animals. Some of these are well known and featured on the site, others not so often, but each individual is a beautiful creature with its own beauty, behaviour and features.

In the coming weeks/months both Loot and I will be sharing some of these animals with you. Kruger is not just a place of large animals. Yes, we took photographs of the big 5, but also of birds, reptiles, insects and Loot even managed to take some images of fish. It surely was a difficult task to decide which animal to post 1st as each have a special attraction of their own.

I have many times seen vultures soaring in the sky not really having the opportunity to come so close like this time I took this photograph. I actually could not believe how beautiful this bird is, as I always thought of a vulture as being quite ugly. This specific pose looks like this bird have been groomed and dressed up for the occasion. It also looks like it is wearing a brownish fur jacket with white pants, not to mention the detail in the face which looks like it just left a beauty salon. A beauty indeed!

Physical Characteristics
The most colourful of the Old World vultures and a substantial bird with a wingspan of 2 metres. It's most distinguishing feature is a crest of white and along with this it has a pinkish face, red beak and blue cere. The naked parts of the head are normally quite pale, but turn red when the bird becomes excited. The plumage of the back and collar is a chocolate brown and the tail black. Lower back and legs are white.

As is typical of most vultures, the White-headed Vulture is to all intents and purposes voiceless, with the syrinx, which gives the nightingale its lovely song, being hardly developed. It will sometimes produce a rather weird, hoarse cry. Notable for being a more aggressive species than other vultures, it seems to retain some of the habits of the eagles from which vultures probably descended. In young birds the entire body is dark, with the exception of the top of the head and the lower neck, which are white.

Leads a double life as both scavenger and predator. Hunts small vertebrates, setting out early in the morning searching for carcasses, locusts, or swarming termites. Is quite a skilled hunter in its own right and will even take birds, the young calves of small antelope, flamingo or guinea fowl. These are very solitary birds and even at a carcass it is very unusual to see more than a handful gathered around to feed.

Conservation Status
Rare. Much less numerous than other African vultures.

Rescue & Recovery
Captive breeding.

Geographical Range
Distributed throughout Southern Africa, central Africa, Senegal, Nubia and Somalia. Not found in Arabia.

Savannahs and steppes, usually in small flocks of about 10 birds. It prefers drier areas with tall tress which serve as safe resting places, but there is usually a water supply close by as these birds needs to drink often.

Nests in tall trees (usually the acacia or the giant baobab), building the nest from grass, scraps and hair until it reaches around 120 centimetres across. A single white or brown and grey spotted egg is laid, and then incubated by the female for 43 days. Both parents feed the young by regurgitating food from the crop until the immature vulture leaves the nest 3 months later. Source

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

Heaven, nasokoun, PeterZ, roges, horias, marhowie, jmirah, Alex99, goatman04, ferranjlloret, sandpiper2, maurydv, MMM, Noisette, uleko, meyerd, sranjan, CeltickRanger, tuslaw, anel, bahadir, goldyrs, Mikolaj, zulfu, Silvio2006, jignasi, efsus has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
Animal Behaviouringridshaul 1 01-08 06:38
To efsus: TeşekkürlerMiss_Piggy 1 11-17 01:53
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2009-11-01 0:23]

Hello Anna.
What a bird, great shot.Very good colours and detail ,with sharp focus, and a nice POV. Well done TFS.
Best regards Siggi

Hi Anna!

It's a pleasure to discover this picture. The vulture is so ugly that it becomes beautiful at the same time. I just wonder if there's a reason behind the apparent uglyness of the bird. I'm also fascinated by the duality that consists in the fact that it is one of the most beautiful and elegant bird in flight. I always will remember my encounter with it in the south of France. The fact that you have taken it in a totally natural environment adds to the value of the picture. Many thanks also for the elaborated and detailed notes.

Kind regards


Perfect pose, perfect caption, perfect picture.
I really think you should be entering your photos in salons, both local and international. With your newly won photographic equipment the sky is the limit for you!

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2009-11-01 1:21]

Hello Anna,
A fantastic start with your new Kruger series. Perfect photo in sharpness, details and pose. Very beautiful clear colours and an excellent low POV.
When I read your note I'm so jealous. I'm looking foreward for the next one.

Hello Anna
Bravo , j'ai l'impression qu'il te pose des questions ...
Merci pour cette prise de vue, d'un oiseau peu ordinaire

  • Great 
  • roges Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 957 W: 0 N: 1329] (6264)
  • [2009-11-01 1:47]

Hallo Anna,

This splendid and funny capture. Beautiful colors with some good details and an interesting imaging.
Have a beautiful Sunday,

Verry good capture of this bird with interesting face.Good photo.Best regards.Alin.

  • Great 
  • horias Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 837 W: 58 N: 2084] (11033)
  • [2009-11-01 1:53]

Wonderful capture this dressed White-headed vulture!!
I think is ready for Halloween party!!!

hello Anna
I believe that it is a funny bird and the splendid pose that you arrested it proves it, I imagine his messy ambling, a very good scene with fine output in colours and details!
TFS thanks for sharing

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2009-11-01 2:06]

Hello Anna,
Welcome back!
What a fine capture! This is the first time I have seen a vulture looking beautiful!
The frontal POV and pose, taken with fine sharpness, colours and lighting contribute to making this an excellent portrait of the White-headed Vulture. The eye contact is great and I like the long eyelashes!
Thanks and look forward to seeing more from your trip to Kruger NP.

Best regards,

Hello Anna, This is a stunning photo. It reminds me of the Victorian times when men used to dress up to go to the balls. With black formal manel suit, and white cravat. You were so lucky to get this great shot. I still need to put my photo's on the site. Lovies. Natley.

a very pretty vulture indeed, great capture and notes!

Hi Anna,

Rare vultures belong to this beautiful timing as exposure to a very successful You have captured. Face seems as if a heavy make-up made:) This is an aspect was also very interesting. Sharpness, exposure and light settings, the success, highlighting the details and has all the beauty. Very successful and clearly a great photo. Notes also very informative. Thanks for sharing.

Best Regards,

Very good details, love the birds head-tilt/pose Anna.
Kinda looks like he's wearin' his V-neck sweater too, must've been chilly :)
Well done!

Hi Anna
Beautiful colors and fantastic POV...An extraordinary looking bird...Very well done...TFS

  • Great 
  • fiyo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1053 W: 5 N: 3475] (15161)
  • [2009-11-01 6:26]

Merhaba Anna,
ne kadar da sevimli, size özel olarak poz vermiş :)
Çok güzel fotoğraf, tebrik ederim, sevgilerle..

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2009-11-01 7:40]

Hi Anna.
I like your conversation with this charming bird. Pictured moment, pose of the bird and its face expression are amazing. Watching such photos it is impossible not love the nature. I like wonderful natural colours of the shot, perfect DOF and refined reproduction of all features of the bird and nice scenery. Thanks a lot for sharing and all my compliments.

hello Anna
see look a lady ,so Beautiful is the head of this bird
great shot with good details and great sharpness
very nice shot Anna
greeting lou

Hello Anna,

This is capture of this vulture with such beautiful coloration, sharpness & composition. Lovely POV, pose & BG. Very nicely taken & TFS.

Glad to see back & looking forward to your pics.!



Hi Anna,

A superb closeup capture of the beautiful White Headed Vulture with great details!

I like the eyes and the way the vulture is expressing something. The sharpness and POV here with great with nicely shown natural colors. A great contrast can be seen between the colors of the bird and the blurry BG.

Well done!

best regards,

Hallo Anna,
Very great picture of the White-headed vulture, excellnet composition and POV, good sharpnees and very nice details. Congratulations fot this pic.
TFS and best regards. Have a nice week.

Hi Anna

What a crazy looking bird. You have managed a unique POV here and it has given us a most unexpected pose. The tilted and teh capture mid-gate provide a really interesting study of this bird I have never seen before. Great colours, composition and sharpness.


Ciao Anna,
a fantastic and astonishing picture, superb sharpness and marvellous naatural colours, i like this very nice composition with an incredible posture of the bird.
Best regards

  • Great 
  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2009-11-02 10:37]

Hi Anna
Excellent presentation of an unknown specie for me.Good LOW POV and razor sharp image with good detail.I love the eye contact and I give you a first price for that title.
TFS Michel

Hello Anna
i see you are back from Kruger Park, and surely with a lot of great shots like this one, this vulture is taken from a great POV with beautiful head position
sharp details, fine luminosity and wonderful composition
Have a good night

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2009-11-03 9:28]

Hello Anna,
This is the most 'beautiful' capture of a Vulture that I've ever seen!! It really looks so elegant in its nice dark robe, white trousers, lovely necklace and beautiful make-up! And I love that tilted head! Excellent timing and very well done! It sounds like you had a great adventure again in the Kruger Park and I look forward to your further contributions!
TFS and all the best wishes, Ulla

  • Great 
  • meyerd Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 585 W: 64 N: 2238] (7531)
  • [2009-11-03 13:29]

Hello Anna,
welcome back on TN after your fishing expedition (fishing for good shots I mean) . I like the lively portrait of this Vulture a lot, the bird looks like a clown, even a Chaplineske bamboo stick seems at hand!

Best regards

Dear Anna,
Welcome back from KNP. In fact, I was expecting your mail immediately after your return from the great adventure trip. This photograph is one of the excellent examples of your superb captures over there. The vulture's expression are reflecting his great inquisitiveness about you all. The caption perse is quite meaningful. Hope to have series of photos from you now. TFS

Hello Anna,

I'm very happy that you enjoyed your Kruger expedition and can't wait to see all your pictures from Loot and you :-)

Here you begin with a splendid representant of the Vultures! I didn't know that Vultures have their own clown because this one looks to be a good participant to "Le Cirque du Soleil"!

I like the feathers arounds its neck, wore like a winter cloak with a big collar. Is it as cold in South Africa???

Excellent POV and great eye contact! Beauty is a subjective think and I'm sure that this one should be courted by a lot of females ;-)

Cheers from the cold north!


Hallo Anna,
welcome back from KNP.
You have capture the bird in a nice pose with the head twisted.
He had an eye contact with you, maybe he is flirting. :-)
Good exposure with fine natural colours.
The sharpness and DOF is good too, the vulture is well seen from the BG.
Well done, my friend.
Thanks for your comments on my last postings.
Warm Regards.

Hi Anna,
Great to have been so close to this vultur, showing some inquisitive notion himself. Great detail in its natural envirnment.Time does fly...TFS.Regards and hope to see more of your trip soon.

hello Anna

an excellent close-up photo of this vulture with his expressive look pose,
fine frontal POV and appropriate framing, excellent focus sharpness details,
and i love the warm colour tones of the image, TFS


  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2009-11-05 18:10]

Hello Anna,
Glad to hear you had a great time on your vacation and was able to get quite a few shots. I'm looking forward to seeing them in the future.
This little guy is really cute even if he is a vulture. I especially like the inquisitive look on it's face.
It has such a beautiful colored head even though it is void of feathers. The white feathers on is upper chest remind me of a well dressed gentleman in a white collar shirt who is showing up for a dinner party.

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2009-11-06 5:07]

hello Anna,
I see that you are back from your trip to Kruger.. I'm sorry that I missed this interesting shot.
I really like the way you took this picture. In general Vultures don't really look very pleasing. I don't know how you manged to show this creature of its best side, very well dressed and with a very kind expression. Must be a civilized one! I also like the natural colors of the picture.
Kind regards

Hello again Anna,
Lovely shot of this cute vulture. Its posture is incredible.
TFS and regards,

I never knew this bird existed, Anna!
What a lovely shot, my friend and so aptly titled by you too!

Hello Anna! Amazing topic, wonderful shot, very interesting note. Good capture. Very good exposure. Well done!

  • Great 
  • zulfu Gold Star Critiquer [C: 685 W: 0 N: 2] (43)
  • [2009-11-09 11:05]

Hello Anna, very beautiful shot of this cute vulture with nice pose, details and colours.
TFS and G's,

Hello Anna,

Now that is a distinguished fellow!
Really fashionable with the pink necktie and red beak hehehe...
And that arrogant tilt on the head completes the picture!

A skillful capture and a very good model direction, excellent colours & details!

Pablo -

Ciao Anna. Impressive and dynamic portrait, and funny too! Best compliments for excellent details good light and bright natural colour. Indeed well done.


Ciao Anna, great dress for beautiful volture in nice pose, wonderful natural colors, fine details and splendid sharpness, very well done, ciao Silvio

casi me ruborizo por tus halagos:-) Muchas gracias; me alegra que te guste mi trabajo; además fue una foto que hace tiempo que hice y crei que no gustaría, pero veo que me equivoqué.

Tu toma muy interesante, primero por la especie; siempre muestras especies curiosas para nosotros y este curioso buitre aún más.
Excelente explicación de tus aventuras y de la riqueza de ese parque que tantas veces he oído nombrar.

Buena realización técnica. Me gusta especialmente la pose de la agresividad que comentas de este ave y que es bien evidente en tu toma.

Un abrazo : Josep Ignasi.

  • Great 
  • efsus Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 415 W: 11 N: 843] (3947)
  • [2009-11-17 0:32]
  • [+]

Merhaba Anna!
Şimdiye kadar gördüğüm en güzel yırtıcı karesi diyebilirim. Senin benzettiğin gibi bir partiye katılmak için giyinmiş ünlü birisini andırıyor gerçekten.
Kusursuz bir pozlama ile bu kuşun tüm sevimliliğini ortaya koymuşsun. Çok başarılı bir kare. Hemen favorilerime ekliyorum. Tebrikler.


  • Great 
  • nanreh Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 136 W: 12 N: 258] (2191)
  • [2009-12-10 15:13]

¿Qué más, Anna? Qué más... Un sinnúmero de criticas elogiosas has logrado con esta vívida y graciosa captura del buitre de cabeza blanca. Sólo decir que un argentino, de un país tan austral como el tuyo, ha incorporado en su querida colección de fotografías a "Dressed for the occasion". Un abrazo!!!

Dear Anna,
Your shot of this vulture/pose is quite amazing, as if you and he had a conversation. Where were you - when you took this photo - in the car?

I am terrified of them. There are a couple in the Rehabilitation Centre in Hoedspruit (poisoned)and were used for "demonstration" for tourists. I went there with a visitor - and one of the students - who work there during University Holidays, amused himself by throwing bits of food close to the viewers who had naked feet, and we hopped like possessed by Veitstanz to escape their sharp beaks!! (Only in the Lowveld...)

It is a perfect photo also concerning photographic techniques: every single feather is sharp as well as the fluffy "pantyhose".

I wonder, why they wear blue lipstick :))? I have not yet found out. The eyelashes - particularly on the right eye are amazing (I guess the mascara goes with the "dressed for the occasion"!)

The wisp of green at 12 o'clock of your photo adds interest to the brown veld.

A perfect animal study!

Kind Regards

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