Ostrich: Journal of African Ornithology

Log in or Register to get access to full text downloads.

Remember me or Register

DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT Open Access  DOWNLOAD FULL TEXT Subscription or Fee Access

High occurrence of extra-pair partnerships and homosexuality in a captive Cape Vulture Gyps coprotheres colony

Margaret T Hirschauer, Kerri Wolter


The Cape Vulture Gyps coprotheres is an Endangered colonial cliff-nesting species that is typically cited as monogamous. Observations of wild Cape Vulture colonies note extra-pair breeding activities but homosexual activity has never been confirmed. Observations of breeding behaviours within a captive colony were conducted at VulPro’s breeding facilities in South Africa The captive breeding programme included 10 breeding pairs and a total of 41 non-releasable, individually recognisable, and genetically sexed subadults or adults. Observations were conducted over the 2014 breeding season as part of a study investigating the social and rearing conditions of chicks intended for release in a population supplementation programme. A high percentage of total colony copulation attempts (22%) were extra-pair copulations but only 23 interactions resulted in cloacal contact or possible sperm transfer. Four paired males formed extra-pair relationships, two of which were homosexual.

Keywords: Cape Vulture, homosexuality, extra-pair copulation, colonial breeding
AJOL African Journals Online