Family Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Critically Endangered

White-rumped Vulture (Gyps bengalensis)


French: Vautour chaugoun German: Bengalengeier Spanish: Buitre dorsiblanco bengalí
Other common names: Indian White-backed Vulture

Vultur bengalensis

J. F. Gmelin

, 1788,

Bengal, India


Closely related to G. africanus, with which sometimes considered conspecific; these two sometimes separated in genus Pseudogyps, on grounds of usually having 12 (not 14) rectrices. Monotypic.


SE Iran, Afghanistan (perhaps irregularly) and Pakistan E through India and Nepal to Myanmar, S China (Yunnan), Indochina and formerly Malay Peninsula.

Descriptive notes

76–93 cm; 3500–6000 g; wingspan 205–220 cm. Blackish, medium-sized vulture with white lower back; underwing-coverts conspicuously all white; bill and cere... read more


Emits grunts, croaks, squeals and hissing sounds at carcasses and at nest and roost. Strident... read more


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

Food and feeding

Exclusively carrion, especially remains of cattle. Regularly feeds in company of other vultures, especially G. indicus, and also... read more


Season Oct–Mar. Solitary and colonial; sometimes forms small colony in grove of trees. Large stick nest built by pair 5–30 m up... read more


Movements poorly known, although satellite-tagged birds found to forage over vast range. Seems to... read more

Status and conservation

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED. CITES II. Population has suffered exceedingly rapid decline, primarily as result of feeding on carcasses of animals treated with veterinary drug... read more

Recommended citation

Clark, W.S., Christie, D.A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). White-rumped Vulture (Gyps bengalensis). 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).