Afrikaans, DutchShow more From Afrikaans aasvoël, earlier Dutch aasvogel (plural -vogelen) aas carrion + voël, vogel bird.
a.Any of several vultures, especially the Cape vulture Gyps coprotheres of the Accipitridae, but occasionally the whitebacked vulture G. africanus. Also attributive, and figurative.See also Cape vulture (Cape sense 2 a).
1834A. SmithDiary (1939) I. 149Piet Whitefoot had..said that the white men were like crows and aasvogels; that though many were together the approach of one man caused them all to fly.
1838A. SmithJrnl (1975) 243A neighbouring chief..had arrived with the Asse vogels (warriors) to beg for meat. [Note] It is customary, we found, to call the warriors Asse vogels, especially when they are begging meat from the king.
1852H. WardJasper Lyle 2Like any demons waiting for their prey, the asphogels, the gigantic vultures of South Africa, keep watch over the bivouac.
1853F.P. FlemingKaffraria 70Called by the Hottentots the Astvogel, which answers to the..Sociable Vulture, in plumage and colour.
1878T.J. LucasCamp Life & Sport 221The hideous asvogels or common vultures were so gorged that they cared only to tear out the eyes here and there.
1890A. MartinHome Life 250The aasvogel, a repulsively ugly, bald-headed, bare-necked bird of the..vulture type, is very common in South Africa.
1899G.H. RussellUnder Sjambok 222The men of this country are like the aars-vogel..that feeds upon it.
[1908Haagner & IvySketches of S. Afr. Bird-Life 1The Aasvogel of the Boers. Birds with an unprepossessing appearance and an evil smell, they are, nevertheless, exceedingly useful in clearing the veld of carrion.]
1913J.J. DokeSecret City 103If I don’t find her to-morrow,..I’ll shoot you, like an aasvogel that you are!
1925F.C. SlaterCentenary Bk of S. Afr. Verse (1946) 232Aasvogel, Large vulture...Head and upper parts of neck dirty white; back and wings ashy mottled with brown. Scarce now.
1931G. BeetGrand Old Days 16The aasvogel has the credit of being the most long-sighted bird in the world.
1957D. Grinnell-MilneBaden-Powell at Mafeking 66Only the haunting notes of the Last Post sounded across the quiet veld, where the scavenging aasvogel picked the bones of dead horses.
1979E. DrummondBurning Land 100They also heard the desolate cries of the aasvogels as they circled high above a distant spot, waiting to descend on whatever lay breathing its last below them.
1948A.C. WhiteCall of Bushveld 133Farmers who adopt the abhorrent practice of poisoning wildebeest or zebra carcasses to thin out lions, hyenas and jackals, exterminate a number of aasvoëls at the same time...The latter serve an excellent purpose as scavengers and do little harm.
1968K. McMaghDinner of Herbs 27On the distant horizon a pall of dust still hung curtaining the sky while aasvoels flapped their wings and fought over the wealth of carrion.
1976S. CloeteChetoko 34I am not a welcome figure. I even know what I am called. Coetzee the aasvoël. It is not easy to be an undertaker.
1985Style Oct. 55In exile the mind would roam through..the wide wheel of the aasvoel, a witgat tree.
b.With defining words designating various species of aasvoel, as black aasvoel, koning aasvoel/ˈkʊənəŋ -/ [Afrikaans, koning king], swart aasvoel/swart -/ [Afrikaans, swart black], white aasvoel:see quotations.
1839W.C. HarrisWild Sports 196Vultus Fulvus, and Vultus Auricularis: White and Black Aas-vogel of the Cape Colonists.
[1908Haagner & IvySketches of S. Afr. Bird-Life 4There is another fairly well-known species, the Black Vulture, called by the Boers the Koning Aasvogel (King Vulture)..which is considerably scarcer than the ordinary Aasvogel.]
[c1808C. von LinnéSystem of Nat. Hist.VIII. 11The Dutch colonists call this species swarte aas vogel, dark carrion-bird.]
1913C. PettmanAfricanderisms 577Zwart aasvogel,..Otogyps auricularis. See Koning aasvogel.
1839white aasvoel: [see quot. at black aasvoelabove].