(1708) Gyps fulvus fulvus.
THE EUROPEAN GRIFFON.
Vultur fulvus Habligl., N. Nordische Beytr., iv, p. 58 (1783) (Gilan, N. Persia). Gyps fulvus. Blanf, & Oates, iii. p. 320 (part.).
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. The fully adult bird is far more isabelline than our Indian Plains race and birds at all stages are less golden-rufous than are G. f. fulvescens. Again, old birds, probably at four years of age upwards, acquire a pure white fluffy ruff, hardly ever seen in the plains form.
Colours of soft parts as in G. f, fulvescens.
Measurements. Wing 700 to 715 mm.; tail 302 to 380 mm. ; tarsus about 100 to 110 mm.; culmen 71 to 74 mm.
Young birds appear to be a much darker brown than young of G. f. fulvescens of a similar age and have no golden-rufous tinge at all and very little buff.
Distribution. South Europe, Western Asia to Turkestan, Persia, Afghanistan and Baluchistan. In India it occurs as a montane bird as far east East as Sikkim and, almost certainly, Bhutan, whence I have seen a specimen I attribute to this race with a pure white ruff:. The specimens from Africa, the Red Sea Province of the Sudan and Dabeta form another race named by Schlegel G. f. occidentals.
Nidification. The European Griffon breeds from the end of January to March, occasionally eggs, probably second layings, being found in April. Like the Indian form it breeds normally in colonies on cliffs but is said sometimes also to make use of nests of other birds built in trees. Only one egg is laid, which is generally all white, rarely spotted and blotched with reddish-brown. Sixty eggs average 92.0 x 71.0 mm.: maxima 101.2 x 73.8 mm. and 94.0 x 75.0 mm.; minima 81.5 x 65.0 and 85.0 x 64.5 mm. Incubation is said to take 50 days.
Habits. Those of the genus. Its status in India is doubtful and there is nothing to show whether it is a resident bird or merely occurs as a rare straggler. Kashmir birds apparently are all fulvescens but the specimens I have been able to examine are all from low levels and Northern birds may prove to be true fulvus.