Bird stories, Griffion Vulture (Gyps fulvus)

The Palestines tell tat when the female vulture was ready to lay an egg, her mate would fly off to search for a hadjar al-nasr, a vulture’s stone. This precious rock was to be found only on a select few mountains, and the male vulture sometimes had to fly as far as the islands of the East Indies in order to find one. Once it was located, he would take it back to his eyrie and place the stone in the nest, beside his mate. She could then lay her egg with a minimum of discomfort.

The Arab prescription of a well-beaten vulture egg smeared on the genitalia is a medicine to improve sexual prowess.

The Kipsigis and the Gusii are great enemies who habitually raid each others territories. At times battles are fought to prove which tribe is stronger than the other. One day the Kipsigis organize a raid on the Gusii, but on their way they see vultures following them. However, they choose to ignore the presence of this symbolic bird, the vulture, and proceed on their way. Since the Gusii are well prepared for the battle, they manage to trap the Kipsigis who are slain in large numbers.
The Kipsigis should have taken heed of the presence of vultures as they are a sign of misfortune. This tribe ought to have returned home and forgotten about the battle.


WildlifeCampus – African Folklore Course
B.J. Wilkinson. Carrion Dreams 2.0: A Chronicle of the Human-Vulture Relationship

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