CREATURE FEATURE: Rüppell’s Griffon Vulture

The Rüppell’s Griffon Vulture (Gyps rueppelli) is a large critically endangered vulture from Africa. They are related to the White-Backed Vulture.

The Rüppell’s Griffon Vulture has mottled brown or black feathers with a whitish-brown underbelly and thin, cream-white fluff covering its head and neck. The base of its neck has a white collar. Its eyes are dark or amber, and its crop patch is deep brown. Its head does not have feathers. It has sharp talons and a powerful dark black.

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African Queen Butterfly

The African Queen Butterfly (Danaus chrysippus) is also known as the Plain Tiger or the African Monarch Butterfly. It is in the Nymphalidae family – the brush-footed butterflies. It is a medium-sized insect.

The African Queen Butterfly has a black body with white spots. Its wings are orange with black and white spotted tips or edges. Its underside is paler orange. Its hind wing (back wing) has three black spots in the center. The wings are bordered in black and outlined with semicircular white spots.

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Pied Currawong

The Pied Currawong (Strepera graculina) is a medium-sized Australian bird. It looks like a crow, but it is only distantly related to crows and ravens.

The Pied Currawong is black with white bars on its wings and tail. It has booted feet (feathers on its legs). It has a hooked tip on its long, sharply-pointed beak. It has bright yellow eyes.

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Common Brushtail Possum

The Common Brushtail Possum (Trichosurus Vulpecula) is an Australian and New Zealand marsupial mammal. Trichosurus Vulpecula means furry tailed little fox, but it is not a fox, and it is not related to the fox.

The Common Brushtail Possum is silver-grey, brown, black, or a golden colour, with large pointed ears and an extremely bushy tail that can wrap around branches. Its inner ears and nose are pink. It has short, fine black whiskers, and big, round brown eyes. Its feet have sharp claws with a strong grip.

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Speckled Pigeon

The Speckled Pigeon (Columba guinea) is also called the African Rock Pigeon. It is a common medium-sized African bird.

The Speckled Pigeon has rufous (red-brown) wings and back. Its wings are speckled with white spots. Its upperparts and underparts are blue-grey. Its head is grey with red patches around its eyes. Its neck is brownish, streaked with white. Its beak is pale and its legs are red.

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Oryx Teeth

The Oryx (Oryx sp) is an antelope, which is a hoofed ruminant mammal.

Ruminants have well-developed molar teeth, which grind plant-based food – called the cud – into food balls.

The Oryx, like all antelopes, has no upper incisors. Instead, it has a hard, upper gum pad. The lower incisors use the gum pad to bite and tear grass stems and leaves.

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Chew the cud

What does chew the cud mean?

To chew the cud means to chew something over and over again.

For humans, it means to think about something over and over again, or to meditate on something – and in the end, the result is a decision or an answer to a problem.


What are ruminants?

To ruminate means to chew something over and over again.

Many mammals, such as humans, cannot eat grass and plants, but herbivores can eat grass. Ruminants are also herbivores. Ruminants are hoofed mammals that feed on plants. Ruminants have a special four-chambered stomach that can digest and ferment plant-based food.

Ruminants use their teeth to grind the plant food into food balls, which are stored in the stomach, and can be regurgitated later.Re-chewing is also called regurgitation. They re-chew the food ball, which is called the bolus, or cud.

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Haitian Sea Anemone

The Haitian Sea Anemone (Condylactis gigantean) is a tropical marine ball-type animal. It is also called the Giant Caribbean Sea Anemone. The Haitian Sea Anemone is found as individuals or small, loose groups, but never in colonies like coral. It is related to coral and jellyfish.

The Haitian Sea Anemone is a large columnar sessile (non-moving) animal of many colours: white, pink, orange, pale-red, or light-brown. Its body has an adhesive pedal (foot) disc, a cylindrical body, and a central mouth surrounded by 100 or more tentacles. The tentacles often have a coloured tip (such as purple or pink).

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What is the difference between the Black Crowned Crane and the Grey Crowned Crane?

What is the difference between the Black Crowned Crane (Balearica pavonina ceciliae) and the Grey Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum)?

The Black Crowned Crane has a black neck, and the Grey Crowned Crane has a soft slate-grey neck.

The Black Crowned Crane has pinkish-white cheeks, and the Grey Crowned Crane has white cheeks.

The Black Crowned Crane has a pink throat pouch, and the Grey Crowned Crane has a red throat pouch.

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Black Crowned Crane

The Black Crowned Crane (Balearica pavonina ceciliae) is a rare bird native to the wetlands of eastern and western Africa. It is a subspecies of the Grey Crowned Crane (Balearica regulorum).

The Black Crowned Crane has a black neck, and a white and pink naked (featherless) head. Its wings are mainly white. Its head has a crown of stiff golden feathers. Its cheeks are pinkish-white, and it has a pink throat pouch. Its beak is short and grey, and its legs are black.

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House Crow

The House Crow (Corvus splendens) is a medium-sized bird.

The House Crow is a slender black and grey crow with a large black beak and a long tail. It has a black crown, face, and chest. Its back, wings and tail are black, with a glossy tinge of green, blue, and purple. Its nape, neck, and lower chest is dull grey.

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Wattled Starling

The Wattled Starling (Creatophora cinerea) is a small African bird. It is also called the Locust Bird.

The Wattled Starling is grey-brown with black wings and a black tail. It has a white rump and short wings. It has a pale pink-white beak, pale pink-grey legs, and dark eyes.

When males are ready to breed, the skin on their heads becomes yellow with twisted black wattles (hanging or drooping skin).

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Pearl Wrasse

The Pearl Wrasse (Anampses cuvier) is a small tropical saltwater (marine) ray-finned fish. It is in the Labridae family.

The male Pearl Wrasse is blue with red eyes and white spots. The female Pearl Wrasse is reddish-brown with white spots and red eyes. It has red fins. It has a black spot on its tail and often black spots on the fin near the tail (anal fin). Its red dorsal fin (back fin) has 8-21 spines and 6-21 soft rays along most of its back. It has a thick lip, with folds inside the lip.

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Handle with kid gloves

What does it mean if you handle something with kid gloves or to treat someone with kid gloves?

To handle with kid gloves means to be very gentle, even too gentle or over-gentle, to the point of smothering or pampering.

Kid gloves are gloves made from the leather of kid goats – baby goats – because the leather is very, very soft.



The Goat (Capra aegagrus) is an even-toed ungulate (hoofed) mammal from Asia, the Middle East, and Europe, and now common to most countries. It is a bovid, related to sheep.

The Goat has varied coloured fur, but mainly variations of black, brown, grey, and white, with short hair or long, shaggy hair. Both males and females have two horns, and both males and females have a beard. It has dark eyes with horizontal, slit-shaped pupils.

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