The Royal Society

Supplementary material from "Vulture culture: dietary specialization of an obligate scavenger"

Posted on 2023-04-28 - 11:53
Individual dietary variation has important ecological and evolutionary consequences. However, it has been overlooked in many taxa that are thought to have homogeneous diets. This is the case of vultures, considered merely as ‘carrion eaters’. Given their high degree of sociality, vultures are an excellent model to investigate how inter-individual transmissible behaviours drive individual dietary variation. Here, we combine GPS-tracking and accelerometers with an exhaustive fieldwork campaign to identify the individual diet of 55 griffon vultures (Gyps fulvus) from two Spanish populations that partially overlap in their foraging areas. We found that individuals from the more humanized population consumed more anthropic resources (e.g. stabled livestock or rubbish), resulting in more homogeneous diets. By contrast, individuals from the wilder population consumed more wild ungulates, increasing their dietary variability. Between sexes, we found that males consumed anthropic resources more than females did. Interestingly, in the shared foraging area, vultures retained the dietary preference of their original population, highlighting a strong cultural component. Overall, these results expand the role of cultural traits in shaping key behaviours and call for the need of including cultural traits in Optimal Foraging models, especially in those species that strongly rely on social information while foraging.


Select your citation style and then place your mouse over the citation text to select it.



Usage metrics

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences


Eneko Arrondo
Esther Sebastián-González
Marcos Moleón
Zebensui Morales-Reyes
José María Gil-Sánchez
Ainara Cortés-Avizanda
Olga Ceballos
José Antonio Donázar
José Antonio Sánchez-Zapata
need help?