Rueppell’s griffons spend much of their day on the wing, flying with slow, powerful wing beats or gliding with their wings held level. They are often found at great altitudes, where they can utilise thermals or strong winds for more efficient soaring (4). They locate food entirely by sight (6), and once a carcass is spotted, Rueppell’s griffon swoops down, lands a little way off and then bounds forwards with its wings spread and long neck outstretched (5). This scavenger may have gone many days without a meal and it will insert its strong neck under the dead animal’s skin, or even crawl into the rib-cage, as it gorges on its find (2) (5). Fights between griffons are common as they struggle to gain their meal (2), with their necks often becoming deep red with aggression as they grunt, hiss and chatter at their adversary (4).
Rueppell’s griffons breed on cliff faces in colonies of tens to thousands of pairs where they lay their eggs on to a platform of sticks lined with grass, placed on an open ledge. It sometimes also nests in trees. A single egg is laid, generally after the long rainy season, and incubated for 55 days. The parents share the responsibility of caring for the downy grey chick that hatches, which fledges at around 150 days of age (2).