Bird stories, Himalayan Griffon (Gyps himalayensis)

The Mustangi Gurung of Nepal chop down the dead body for burial into many pieces and offer the vultures. Lama calls the vulture by praying and blowing his trumpet. There is a belief that a skilled lama can invite only the required number of vulture in accordance to the weight of a dead body to feed them sufficiently. When the vultures finish eating up the entire corpse it is said that they bath in the river before flying away. If vultures do not visit the site then locals believe that the person had committed some sorts of sin during his lifetime.



An old and very odd Russian legend of the Kirghiz tells of the treasures that awaited those who plundered a Himalayan Griffon nest. It was said that after an appropriate period of incubation, the Griffon’s egg hatches – and an axe emerges from the shell. Not just any axe; an axe that can cleave anything on earth, and that can only be destroyed if a bird swallows it. A man who finds this axe has acquired a miraculous weapon for life; but if no one discovers it after three days, it transforms – into a puppy. Kumaik, as the puppy is called, is a remarkable Dog. Easily recognized by his eyes, which are pale like those of his vulture parents, he is able to hunt down any wild animal, even a dragon. On top of that, Kumaik can predetermine the future of his owner, and so make them endlessly happy. But unless Kumaik is found by a human after three days, he turns into the usual Griffon fledgling.

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Raju Acharya Sharma, 2006. STATUS OF HIMALAYAN GRIFFON Gyps himalayensis Hume, 1869 AND ETHNO-VULTURE RELATIONSHIP IN UPPER MUSTANG, NEPAL. Thesis report.

B.J. Wilkinson. Carrion Dreams 2.0: A Chronicle of the Human-Vulture Relationship

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