Mass landfills are saving endangered vultures from extinction

(Phys.org)—A trio of researchers working at the Dońana Biological Station in Spain has found that Egyptian vultures living in the Canary Islands dip their head, neck and chest in red soil to color themselves. In their paper published in in the journal Ecology, Thijs van Overveld, Manuel de la Riva and José Antonio Donázar describe their observations, a small experiment they conducted, and offer some opinions regarding the reason for the unique behavior of the birds.

Vultures smear their faces in red mud which they use as makeup

The endangered Egyptian vultures have taken to mud baths and painting their faces at their stronghold in the Canaries. But why do they care about cosmetics?

Mon 15 May 17 from Newscientist

Landfills could be saving vultures from going extinct

Regulations in most European countries limiting carcass disposal have deprived Egyptian vultures of their natural food source, causing them to resort to landfills in Catalonia, Spain. ...

Thu 18 May 17 from Daily Mail

Scientists baffled by Vultures who use mud 'like make up'

Egyptian vultures normally have white feathers, but on the Island of Fuerteventura off the coast of Africa, many of them bathe their heads in red mud, giving them red heads and necks. ...

Mon 15 May 17 from Daily Mail

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