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Open Access item Coprophagy: An unusual source of essential carotenoids A yellow-faced vulture includes ungulate faeces in its diet for cosmetic purposes.

Authors:Negro, Juan J.
Grande, Juan Manuel
Tella, José Luis
Garrido Fernández, J.
Hornero-Méndez, Dámaso
Donázar, José A.
Sánchez-Zapata, José Antonio
Benítez, J. R.
Barcell, M.
Issue Date:25-Apr-2002
Publisher:Macmillan Publishers
Citation:Nature 416(6883): 807-809 (2002)
Abstract:The rare Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) stands out among the Old World vultures (Family Accipitridae) because of its brightly ornamented head1, which is coloured yellow by carotenoid pigments, and its practice of feeding on faeces. Here we show that Egyptian vultures obtain these pigments from the excrement of ungulates. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration that faeces can be used as a source of carotenoids by a vertebrate.
Publisher version (URL):http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/416807a
URI:http://hdl.handle.net/10261/34871
ISSN:0028-0836
E-ISSNmetadata.dc.identifier.doi = DOI:1476-4687
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