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Vultures

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Pumbaa: Bowling for Buzzards!
Timon: Hehehe, works every time. (laughs)
—Timon and Pumbaa after scaring a flock of vultures


Vultures are creatures that appear in The Lion King universe.

Appearance

The vultures seen in The Lion King franchise are most likely white-backed vulture (scientific name Gyps africanus) as those species of Old World vultures have a white neck ruff seen in The Lion King franchise.

If they are the correct species, white-backed vultures have feathers on the head and neck, very broad wings and short tail feathers, along with a white neck ruff. The adult's whitish back contrasts with the otherwise dark plumage while juvenile vultures are largely dark. This is a medium-sized vulture; its body mass is 4.2 to 7.2 kilograms (9.3–16 lb), it is 94 cm (37 in) long and has a 218 cm (86 in) wingspan.[1]

Information

In the Real World

Vulture

An Adult Vulture.

Like other Old World vultures, it is a scavenger, feeding mostly from carcasses of animals which it finds by soaring over savannah. It also takes scraps from human habitations. It often moves in flocks. It breeds in trees on the savannah of west and east Africa, laying one egg. The population is mostly resident.

In The Lion King

Vulturesgather

Vultures gather around Simba's fallen body

The vultures, called "buzzards" in the film, are seen gathered around Simba, who to them is dead. The vultures begin to consume his body until Timon and Pumbaa come storming towards the flock, playing their game, "Bowling for Buzzards". The meerkat and warthog beat back the flock, and the flock finally flies away.

In The Lion King's Timon & Pumbaa

The Vulture Police are two notable vultures who are recurring characters in the series. They serve as the policemen of the jungle, though they also seem to travel the world like Timon and Pumbaa do.

In The Lion King II: Simba's Pride

Simba'sPrideVultures

Vultures before battle

Some vultures appears before the battle between Outsiders and Pridelanders, expecting victims.

In The Lion King 1½

Pumbaa: Oh, look, Timon! Buzzards!
Timon: There must be some part we haven't injured yet.
Pumbaa: What do you say, one more round.
Timon: Nah, Pumbaa. I'm beat. You go ahead; I'm callin' it a day. (pulls a thorn from his body) Aiee!
Pumbaa: But, it's no fun alone. (whimpers)
Timon: Ah, why not? One more run won't change our lives!
—Timon and Pumbaa before they chase away the vultures


After Timon and Pumbaa found their dream home, they enjoy themselves by consuming grubs, and playing certain activities, one of them being "Bowling for Porcupines", which ends with Timon having numerous thorns upon his back. Pumbaa individually removes the thorns only to notice a flock of buzzards are surrounding a fallen carcass. The warthog wants to play another round of "bowling for buzzards", but Timon suggests he does it alone, and walks away. Pumbaa whimpers on the missed opportunity for fun, but Timon instantly hops on the idea saying that "one more run won't change our lives". Finally, the two charge at the flock ultimately saving Simba's life.

The Lion King: Six New Adventures

Vulture Shock

In the book, "Vulture Shock", of the novel series, The Lion King: Six New Adventures, Kopa, the son of Simba, wants to find his family tree. He asks his father to take him to it, but Simba is busy. Kopa sets out by himself to find it, and he finds a lizard and chases it for a long time. The chase leads him to a dry, barren land. Lost and alone, he curls up and goes to sleep. In the morning he is found by two hungry vultures, Chewa and Choyo. Chewa asks his friend, Choyo, what he wants to eat. The two ask each other the question several times before Chewa frustratedly gives up. Choyo comments that animals just aren't migrating the way they used to, and Chewa points out that "when they don't migrate, they don't get lost. And when they don't get lost, they don't drop dead. And when they don't drop dead, we don't eat!" Choyo praises his friend on his insight and glorifies his position as leader of their flock. Chewa, however, is in despair over the fact that he can't provide his flock with food.

The two vultures begin reminiscing about Scar's reign, when animals had been passing through the desert everyday. But as they're dancing and shouting about all the wonderful foods they had once had, Chewa notices Kopa passed out under a tree. The two vultures grow excited and eagerly rush over to devour the helpless cub. But as they get closer, Choyo exclaims that they can't eat him while he's still alive. Chewa points out that they aren't creatures of habit and Choyo eagerly complies. But as Choyo rushes in for the meat, Chewa holds him back and reminds him of the flock's biggest rule: always share.

At his words, the rest of the flock comes spinning down to earth, eager to finish off Kopa. The cub, however, does not wake from his exhausted slumber and fails to notice the vultures gathering around him. But before the meal can begin, Chewa decides to make a toast to his flock. The vultures cheer at his eager words and Kopa flips onto his side among the din. The vultures eye him suspiciously and Wali asks Chewa what to do next. The flock leader looks at Kopa closely and asks his followers if they have ever seen the cub before. None of the other vultures recognize Kopa, but Chewa soon sees the cub for who he really is: the prince of the Pride Lands. The other vultures don't follow Chewa's thinking and are still intent on eating Kopa, but Chewa orders the other vultures to keep away. He then looks down at the cub and comments that with a father like Simba, Kopa was worth a lot more than just one measly meal.

Flcok

Chewa's flock

Under Chewa's orders, the flock puts Kopa in a high spiky nest, where he has no chance of escape. After he wakes up, Kopa begs the vultures to let him free, but they just jeer and cackle at him before flapping away. Upon gathering together far from Kopa's prison, Chewa announces to his flock that Simba will do anything to get his precious son back. Choyo suggests asking for "dik-diks," but this just angers Chewa, who demands to know why he wants the tiniest antelope in Africa over anything he can possibly wish for. Choyo suggests asking for "big antelope," but Chewa is again disgusted.

He asks the other vultures for suggestions and they tell him to ask for a waterbuck or a wildebeest. Chewa is again disappointed and his followers ask him what he wants to eat. Chewa then announces that he wants an elephant or a hippopotamus or a rhinoceros, which is met with much cheering and enthusiasm. He then proclaims that instead of asking for one animal, they should give Simba a whole menu of animals to ask for! Choyo thinks it a bit much, but Chewa brushes him aside. Meanwhile, Mbili, Moja, and Tatu are shocked by Chewa's behavior and intent on not following his orders.

They come before Chewa and ask him if they can deliver the message to Simba. Chewa is shocked and tells them that Choyo was going to deliver the message. The Buzzard Boyz are disappointed and tell Chewa that they can't sing their new song for the Lion King now. Perking up, they decide, instead, to sing it to Chewa. But as they start to break into song, Chewa stops them and snappishly agrees to let them take the message. Choyo tries to protest, but Chewa shrieks at him to be quiet. He then turns back to the Buzzard Boyz and tells them to listen closely to everything he told them to relay to Simba. He then commands them not to tell the king where Kopa is. After the Buzzard Boyz agree to this demand, Choyo asks Chewa why he's sending the Buzzard Boyz over him. Chewa growls that Simba would agree to anything those pesky birds asked him to. He then salutes the Buzzard Boyz and sends them off on their mission.

The next day, Chewa and his flock anxiously await the return of Mbili, Moja, and Tatu. The flock pesters Chewa with pointless questions as they wait and his patience begins to slip. But as they're arguing, Choyo picks up elephant scent and the vultures look up to see the Buzzard Boyz leading a mass of animals towards Kopa's tree. Chewa announces that dinner is served and the vultures erupt into cheering. When the Buzzard Boyz present the meal to Chewa, the other vultures erupt into happy cheers. But Chewa is displeased and comments that they had brought everything but dessert! Tatu tells Chewa that they had replaced the flamingos with something different.

Chewa finds Kiboko in place of the flamingos and peers at him suspiciously. But as Kiboko is explaining himself, Simba and Nala leap out of the group and snarl at Chewa and his followers. Chewa starts in surprise and attempts an escape, but Simba grapples him by his wing and forces him back. Nala demands to know where her son is and Chewa claims to nothing about a certain "Kopa." But to his dismay, the cub calls down to his parents from his tree and Simba lets go of Chewa, who quickly scurries away. Simba glares at the vultures in anger and Chewa tells the king that he can have his son back. He then asks if they can at least have a little something to eat. Simba asks what they want and Chewa points to Zazu. Simba roars that Zazu is his trusted friend and steward. Chewa backs down and proclaims that anything would do.

In answer, the Pridelanders surround Chewa and proclaim that vultures are delicious. As Chewa begins to panic, Choyo tells Simba that he can't just come and disrupt their wasteland. Nala quickly dispatches of Choyo and Simba asks the vultures if they will return to their normal eating habits. They shakily agree and Simba turns back to Chewa. The flock leader begs the king not to kill him and Simba tells him that he has a different punishment in mind. He then proclaims that the flock is sentenced to listen to the Buzzard Boyz perform a solo every week. Chewa grows frantic and begs for a different punishment, but Simba's mind is set. Choyo turns on Chewa and accuses him of causing this. As the Pridelanders leave, Nala calls over her shoulder that they would be checking up on them to make sure they continue to follow the laws of nature.

Notable Vultures

Trivia

  • The vultures who begin to feed on Simba were once characters, but the directors felt their humor stole the thunder from Timon and Pumbaa, so they remained ordinary vultures.

Gallery

  • Vultures gather around Simba's fallen body
  • Vultures are chased away by Timon and Pumbaa
  • The Vulture Police
  • Mzingo
  • Chewa
  • Choyo
  • the Buzzard Boyz
  • A flock of vultures featured in Vulture Shock


References

  1. White-backed vulture videos, photos and facts - Gyps africanus. ARKive.

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