|Gyps||indicus||OR||se Pakistan, s India|
Members of the genus Gyps are vultures varying in size from medium to large. They have an elongated head with a long and heavy beak. The head and neck are bare, but for a covering of woolly down. At the base of the neck is a ruff of long, narrow, pointed feathers. This is a social genus, usually nesting in colonies in trees or on rocky crags. There are seven species, covering much of Africa, southern Europe and into Asia. Of there, two (the African White-backed Vulture Gyps africanus and the Indian White-backed Vulture Gyps bengalensis ) are arguably more logically places in a genus of their own. They differ in that they have 12 tail feathers (not the 14 that all other Gyps have), their nesting habits differ, and they have a distinctive coloration that differs significantly from the rest of the genus.
In the adult of the northern race, the bare skin of head and neck is a dirty grey-brown, sparsely powdered with white down and terminated with a buff ruff. The feathers of the back and upper-wing coverts are sepia brown, with paler edges, producing a generally pale upper-side with darker mottlings. The tail and primary quills above and below are black/brown, the secondaries being more sepia. The crop patch is dark brown with white down around it. The feathers of the under-side are light brown with dark shafts, darker brown on the axillaries. The under-wing coverts are light brown with buff edges. The eyes are brown, the cere dull grey/green, and the legs dark grey.
The head and neck of immatures has a scattering of white down over a brown ruff. Above is mostly brown with pale rufous edges to the feathers and distinct rufous/buff shaft streaks. The crop patch is brown. Te under-side is light brown, with cream streaks. The thighs, abdomen and under-tail coverts are paler, and the under-wing coverts are almost white.
The southern race is similar, but the head and neck are completely naked, and it is somewhat smaller.
|wingspan min.:||205||cm||wingspan max.:||229||cm|
|size min.:||80||cm||size max.:||100||cm|
|incubation min.:||47||days||incubation max.:||53||days|
|fledging min.:||0||days||fledging max.:||0||days|
One egg is laid, oval, white, sometimes lightly spotted and blotched with reddish brown. Eggs are laid from mid-November to early March. G. i. tenuirostris may breed on average a little earlier than G. i. indicus. Both sexes incubate and attend the young. Incubation takes about 50 days. Only about 50% of occupied nests produce young in any year.
Video Indian Vulture
copyright: J. del Hoyo
By mid-2000, Gyps vultures were being found dead and dying in Pakistan and throughout India, and major declines and local extirpations were being reported. Early evidence suggested that a viral disease may have been the causal agent, but there is now strong evidence that Gyps vultures are fatally susceptible to veterinary painkillers containing diclofenac. Further research is required.