Hyaena and vultures on lion carcass.

In this sequence of images we see a hyaena arriving on a scene of white backed vultures feeding on the carcass of a buffalo cow. It does not take long for the hyaena to establish his dominance. Five minutes after having arrived on the scene the hyaena displaces the vulture from the carcass and begins to feed. There is also an established order of feeding when it comes to vultures.

When the main predators are still feeding (lion for example) – the larger vultures will keep their distance. Small hooded vultures might hang around the periphery darting in occasionally to grab a scrap of meet or offal. Once the big predators move off, the large vultures – white backed, Cape, white headed and lappet faced – will move in to feed with the lappet faced dominating. The small hooded vultures continue to forage on the periphery. In the above sequence we see only white backed vultures until the image taken at 6:37:46 AM. Having been chased off by the hyaena the white backed vultures stand back and now a hooded vulture moves in to grab a scrap or two. They body language of the hyaena also shows that it is a little uneasy, probably wondering where the lions are that killed the buffalo. It is an established fact that there is little love lost between hyaena and lion and whereas hyaena might be emboldened in a pack they are aware of their vulnerability when on their own.