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The largest vulture in Africa, the lappet-faced vulture (Torgos tracheliotus) dominates other vultures when feeding and is even powerful enough to fend off a jackal. This impressive, broad-winged bird is armed with a large and powerful beak, capable of tearing off the hides, tendons and other coarse tissue of its scavenged prey, which are too tough for smaller scavengers. The lappet-faced vulture is easily recognised by its conspicuous size, bare, pink-skinned head and distinctive fleshy folds of skin, known as lappets, on the sides of its neck, for which it earns its common name. The lappet-faced vulture has an impressive wingspan of nearly three metres. Smaller scavengers often depend on the lappet-faced vulture to break through hides of bigger carcasses. Lappet-faced vultures will feed on body parts other raptors avoid, such as skin and bone.




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