Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Least Concern

Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus)


French: Vautour fauve German: Gänsegeier Spanish: Buitre leonado
Other common names: Eurasian Griffon

Vultur fulvus


, 1783,

Samamisian Alps, Gilan, Iran


Was previously thought to form a species-group with G. himalayensis, G. indicus (with tenuirostris), G. coprotheres and G. rueppelli. Recent genetic data indicate that present species forms a clade with G. rueppelli, and that these two are sister to a clade comprising G. indicus, G. tenuirostris and G. coprotheres#R, an arrangement independently supported by study based on wider molecular sample from additional loci#R. Has sometimes been considered conspecific with G. coprotheres; also occasionally with G. himalayensis, to which race fulvescens appears closely related#R. Population of Punjab Salt Range (N Pakistan), described as G. indicus jonesi, belongs to race fulvescens of present species. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. f. fulvus (Hablizl, 1783) – NW Africa, Iberian Peninsula, S France E through Mediterranean Basin (including Mallorca, Sardinia, Crete and Cyprus), Balkans, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia and Iran to Pamirs and S & E Kazakhstan.
  • G. f. fulvescens A. O. Hume, 1869 – Afghanistan, Pakistan and N India E to Assam.
  • Descriptive notes

    93–110 cm; 6000–10,000 g; wingspan 234–270 cm. Huge vulture with whitish head, neck and collar; dark centres to greater upperwing-coverts. Similar to... read more


    Usually silent, except near nest and at roost, but especially noisy around carcasses, where... read more


    Expansive open areas; wide range of habitats, including mountains, plateaux, steppe and even semi... read more

    Food and feeding

    Exclusively, or almost exclusively, carrion; feeds mainly on muscles and viscera of medium sized and large mammals, especially ungulates.... read more


    Laying Dec–Mar or later; replacement clutches till May; laying can be spread over three months at any given colony. Colonial;... read more


    Sedentary and partly migratory; juveniles disperse widely, accounting for most sightings outside... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). CITES II. Favoured in past by increases in livestock farming and also in extent of pastures. Widespread decline during most of 20th... read more

    Recommended citation

    Orta, J., Kirwan, G.M., Boesman, P., Garcia, E.F.J. & Marks, J.S. (2020). Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 24 February 2020).