Rüppell’s Griffon Vulture vs Griffon Vulture and vs African White-backed Vulture


Rüppell’s Griffon Vulture vs Griffon Vulture and vs African White-backed Vulture


  • Short wings, closed hands, very slim body. Roughly 50% smaller than EGV and 30% than RGV.
  • Has 12 tail-feathers. Dark greyish tarsus,  blacker than other vultures.
  • Short black bill, jet black facial mark.
  • Black neck skin.
  • Body feathers, especially undertail coverts, intermediate pale streaking lacking any spot at feather-tip.
  • Dull greyish greater coverts, lacking any pale markings.
  • Upperwing plain, uniform sandy/brown with uniform brownish greater coverts.



  • Relatively short wings, closed hand, slim body. Roughly 30% in weight of EGV, and it generally looks slimmer and less bulky bellied.
  • Has 14 tail-feathers.
  • Very long billed, flat forehead, bill becomes pale during second  or third plumage.
  • Neck skin deep red; blue circular patches. Dark feathers on the neck.
  • Broad pale streaking with pale spots at feathers-tip  (anchor in juveniles) in body feathers, especially in undertail coverts.
  • Greater coverts black with pale tips, particularly evident in primary coverts; lacking lateral fringe.
  • Upperwing scaled with several rows of black pale-tipped feathers (greater and median coverts).



  • Long-winged, square wings, massive body. Looking notoriously heavy and bulky both in flight and perched.
  • Has 14 tail-feathers.
  • Squared head, bill dark until third or fourth plumage.
  • Neck skin blue-greyish; blue circular patches.
  • Body feathers, especially undertail coverts, usually uniform although sometimes with a pale streaking.
  • Greater and primary coverts from white to an almost black feather, but always entirely pale fringe.
  • Upperwing plain, uniform griffon/sandy except dark greater coverts with a visible pale fringe.


Abstract from: Rodríguez, G. & Elorriaga, J. 2016. Identification of Rüpell’s Vulture and White-backed Vulture and vagrancy in the WP. Dutch Birding 38.


Greater Spotted Eagle


L: 60-70 cm. E: 160-185 cm. Wing:♂460-515 mm,♀510-540 mm. Weight:♂1.650-1.950 g.,♀1.800-2.800 g. Longevity: < 25 years old.

Coordinators: Alex Ollé & Joan Goy




Status: scarce but present over a vast area, from East Europe to North China. Most of the population winters in the middle east, Africa and southern Asia. About 15% (300-400 ind.) of the European population winters in southern Europe, especially in Greece and locally in Spain, France, Italy, Albania, Bulgaria and Turkey. Very faithful to their wintering grounds.

Moult: usually, immature birds only replace some of the flight feathers (rectrices and remiges) on their wintering grounds, while adults have a more extensive moult.

Second plumage: during spring and autumn, 2cy birds moult half of their innermost primaries as well as some secondaries and rectrices.

Third plumage: during the 3cy, all of the outermost primaries are moulted and the innermost primaries are replaced again. As a result, we can distinguish two waves of moult proceeding simultaneously. Also, a contrast between the new outermost and innermost primaries, and the old central ones.

Adult plumage: adults moult during all year, except for when they migrate. Almost all primaries are replaced.

Hybrids: with Lesser Spotted Eagle in North-east Europe, from Eastern Poland to Western Russia, all the way across Belarus, central Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia, affecting up to 80% of cases in some countries.

Similar especies: Lesser Spotted Eagle.


LONTKOWSKI, J. & MACIOROWSKI, G. 2010. Identification of juvenile Greater Spotted Eagle, Lesser Spotted Eagle and hybrids. Dutch Birding 32: 384-397

MACIOROWSKI, G. LONTKOWSKI, J. & MIZERA, T. 2014. The Spotted Eagle – Vanishing Bird of the Marshes. Unigraf. Poznán.


Rüppell’s Griffon Vulture vs Griffon Vulture


Rüppell’s Griffon Vulture vs Griffon Vulture

Most Rüppell’s in Europe are observed in the extreme southern Iberia peninsula, mostly 2cy birds between february and november, but especially during their movements between Senegambia and Spain.

In addition to being a darker and smaller vulture, Rüppell’s characteristics are the pattern of the patagium, the clear margins of the greater and upper tail coverts, as well as the arrow pattern of the body feathers. There are other aspects such as the greater extent of moult, the more triangular head, the reddish neck, etc.