The Vultures of Africa

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9780125105859: The Vultures of Africa

In The Vultures of Africa all eleven species of vulture known to the continent are presented, for the first time, in an authoritative account that will rank as the most important ornithological work on these fascinating yet threatened birds.
Vultures have always evoked a strong response in people, whether it be one of reverence, as in the Ancient Egyptians or the present-day 'vulture-watchers', or of aversion, as shown by many of the explorers and hunters of the last century. In this major, fully illustrated monograph, Dr. Peter Mundy and his co-authors endeavour to answer every conceivable question on the biology and lifestyles of these birds, in a text that is a refreshing departure from traditional bird monographs in terms of its lively and contentious style. The book, nevertheless, remains comprehensive in its approach, and combines the insights gained from the authors' personal experiences with a scholarly review of all the available literature.
The book is divided into four parts. First, the vultures are introduced and described from the evolutionary standpoint, both globally and in an African context, so that the world's 22 species of vulture are grouped and defined. Then, the African species are placed under the spotlight. This part covers the following species: Cape Griffon, Röppel's Griffon, Eurasian Griffon, Whitebacked Vulture, Hooded Vulture, Lappetfaced Vulture, Cinereous Vulture, Whiteheaded Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Bearded Vulture, Whiteheaded Vulture, Egyptian Vulture, Bearded Vulture and Palmnut Vulture. Each species' account encompasses the history of the bird's discovery, its complete identification, distribution and preferred habitats, its behaviour, in particular its sociality, flight and actions at a carcass, food, breeding, and its current conservation status. The third part reveals the diversity within this group of scavenging birds by taking a comparative look at their foraging, feeding, socialising and breeding habits. Finally, the interrelationship of vultures and humans in Africa through the ages is documented, and modern-day conservation issues and strategies are discussed in depth.
Each species is superbly illustrated by watercolour paintings, and more than 100 pencil sketches appear throughout the text. Over 130 photographs of the birds in action in different parts of the continent add to the book's visual excitement, and give life to the wealth of data included in the text, maps and diagrams.
The Vultures of Africa will be essential reading for all bird enthusiasts, conservationists and ornithologists, and will amply reward both the informed reader and the collector of fine works of Africana.

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About the Author:

Dr. Peter Mundy, was born in England and raised in the East End of London. As a teenager he became a Queen's Scout and, in 1960, was a member of the British Schools' Exploring Society expedition to Iceland. He obtained a B.Sc. Hons in zoology from King's College at the University of London, and then, in 1969, secured a job as a teacher in Sokoto, north-western Nigeria. Here he was introduced to the Hooded Vulture, which he studied for nearly three years. This experience inspired him to pursue a comparative study of five species of vultures for a doctoral thesis at the then University of Rhodesia, and a doctorate was awarded in 1981. This was later published in book form. Dr. Mundy has obsereved vultures in about one-third of the countries of Africa, from South Africa, Bostwana and Zimbabwe, to Nigeria, Egypt and Morocco. He is currently Principal Ecologist and Head of the Ornithological Research Unit of Zimbabwe's Department of Parks and Wild Life Management.

Born in England, Duncan Butchart has lived in South Africa since 1970, and has travelled widely in the wilder parts of southern Africa in order to watch vultures in their natural habitats. He has been active in instigating and participating in awareness campaigns, research programmes, fundraising and publications for the Vulture Study Group, and played an important role in the establishment of vulture 'restaurants'. A self-taught illustrator, photographer and graphic designer, he is currently editor and art director of the nature and environmental magazine, Bushcall.

John Ledger began his lifelong interest in birds during his childhood on a farm south of Johannesburg. He first ringed Cape Griffons in the Magaliesberg as a student at the University of the Witwatersrand, where he obtained a B.Sc. Hons degree. Awarded a doctorate in 1976, for his thesis on lice (published in book form), he became head of the Department of Medical Entomology at the SA Institute for Medical Research. In 1985, Dr. Ledger became Director of the Endangered Wildlife Trust, where he is actively engaged in reconciling conservation and development on the African continent. He wrote the first Bird Ringing Manual in Africa, and is the founder of Vulture News, former editor of Bokmakierie and current editor of Endangered Wildlife.

Steven Piper was born in Durban, and took his degree in chemical engineering at the University of Natal. His fascination for birds encouraged him to study for a mater's degree in mathematical biology at the University of Natal. His interest in vultures dates back to the early 1970s when he designed a computer program to generate colour-ring combinations, and later helped to rear a deformed Cape Griffon nestling, Timofy Vulcha. Currently, he is finishing his doctoral thesis on the mathematical demography of the Cape Griffon in southern Africa.

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Peter Mundy, Duncan Butchart, John Ledge
Published by Academic Press (1993)
ISBN 10: 0125105851 ISBN 13: 9780125105859
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 1
Murray Media
(North Miami Beach, FL, U.S.A.)

Book Description Academic Press, 1993. Hardcover. Book Condition: New. Bookseller Inventory # P110125105851

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