Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Critically Endangered

Indian Vulture (Gyps indicus)


Taxonomy

French: Vautour indien German: Indiengeier Spanish: Buitre indio
Other common names: Long-billed Vulture (when lumped with G. tenuirostris)
Taxonomy:

Vultur indicus

Scopoli

, 1786,

India

.

Was previously thought to form a species-group with G. himalayensis, G. coprotheres, G. rueppelli and G. fulvus (see G. coprotheres). Until recently, considered conspecific with G. tenuirostris, but that species differs on several accounts#R#R: has black head and narrow neck vs dark grey head and thicker, whitish-grizzled grey neck (2); dark vs pale cere, with dark vs yellow bill and claws (3); much narrower fringes on tertials and greater coverts so that contrast with primaries on folded wing much weaker (2); mottled vs clear rump (ns[1]); and head apparently longer (135–145 mm vs 126–131 mm#R). The split supported by molecular evidence#R. G. indicus jonesi (described from Salt Range, in N Pakistan) is a synonym of race fulvescens of G. fulvus. Monotypic.

Distribution:

SE Pakistan (Sind) and India S of R Ganges (mainly in NW, W & S); recently recorded in Nepal#R.

Descriptive notes

83–91 cm; 5500–6300 g; wingspan 196–258 cm. Medium-sized vulture with pale body and wing-coverts; blackish neck, with whitish down; bill mostly pale yellow... read more

Voice

Cackling, grunting and hissing sounds, mainly during feeding at carcass.

Habitat

Inhabits plains and open country near villages, towns and cities, as well as parks and sanctuaries... read more

Food and feeding

Feeds exclusively on carrion, mostly cattle. Feeds in company of other vultures, especially more numerous G. bengalensis, with... read more

Breeding

In Pakistan, most eggs are laid in Nov, and young fledge from mid Mar to mid May. Two nests in S India had chicks c. 1 month old in late... read more

Movements

Sedentary. Immatures likely more nomadic. Some seasonal elevational shifts noted in Nepal.

Status and conservation

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED. CITES II. Until recently a common breeder in SE Pakistan and in peninsular India S of Gangetic Plain (S to Nilgiris), but has undergone catastrophic... read more

Recommended citation

Clark, W.S., Christie, D.A. & Marks, J.S. (2019). Indian Vulture (Gyps indicus). 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 https://www.hbw.com/node/52997 on 24 January 2019).