The white-headed vulture is an early riser and flies out from its roost earlier in the day than other vultures (4). It is often the first vulture to arrive at a kill made by carnivores during the previous night, and will feed on carrion and bone fragments in peace for a while before other vultures arrive (2), whereupon the white-headed vulture generally retreats (4) (7). White-headed vultures can, however, be very aggressive at a carcass and will rush in to a group of vultures to grab a scrap of food that is then taken away (7). This vulture species generally feeds alone or in pairs, and even at a large carcass rarely more than a handful of white-headed vultures will gather (2). They are considered to be an ‘aloof’ vulture, generally remaining on the fringe of a large group of feeding vultures (7). While the white-headed vulture generally feeds on carcasses, it will also steal food from other birds and, unlike most other vultures, sometimes kills small or weak prey. The diet of the white-headed vulture also includes termites, locusts, and sometimes stranded fish, when they are available (2) (7).
White-headed vultures lay a single egg at a time, usually in the dry season (2), into a nest they have constructed high up in a thorny acacia or baobab tree (4). The egg is incubated for 55 to 56 days (2). Initially white, the chick will have mostly brown plumage not long after it fledges at an age of 115 to 120 days (2) (7).