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Nature. 2002 Apr 25;416(6883):807-8.

Coprophagy: an unusual source of essential carotenoids.

Author information

1
Department of Applied Biology, Estación Biológica de Doñana, CSIC, Pabellón del Perú, Avda María Luisa, s/n 41013 Seville, Spain. negro@ebd.csic.es

Abstract

The rare Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) stands out among the Old World vultures (Family Accipitridae) because of its brightly ornamented head, 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.

PMID:
11976670
DOI:
10.1038/416807a
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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