(1710) Gyps indicus indicus.
The Indian Long-Billed Vulture.
Vultur indicus Scop., Del. Flor. et Faun. Insubr., ii. p. 85 (1786) (Pondicherry). Gyps indicus. "Blanf. & Oates, iii, p. :322.
Vernacular names. Gidh (Hin.); Gidad, Maha-dho (Mahr.).
Description. Whole head and nape with short hair-like feathers, pale whitish-brown to brown, scattered thinly over the surface ; upper neck more or less clothed with white downy feathers, lower part of the neck generally more naked; ruff pure white, extending from round the back of the neck and round the rich brown breast-patch ; the feathers of the ruff disintegrated and fluffy; back pale brown, the centres, mostly concealed, darker; lower back, rump and upper tail-coverts creamy-white with pale brown bases, sometimes showing extensively, sometimes hardly visible; wing-coverts and scapulars like the back but paler and with the dark centres in greater contrast; quills and tail dark brown or blackish ; lower parts pale dirty fulvous, sometimes almost white, sometimes slightly isabelline on the breast and generally showing faint traces of still paler central .streaks ; under wing-coverts mottled brown and creamy-white.
Colours of soft parts. Iris brown; bill greenish or yellowish -horny, darker on the culmen ; cere dull, dirty greenish ; bare skin of head and face plumbeous-ashy; legs and feet greenish or plumbeous-ashy.
Measurements. Wing 560 to 650 mm., nearly all between 600 and 625 mm.; tail 238 to 274 mm.; tarsus about 90 to 94 mm.; culmen 66 to 69 mm.
Young birds are much darker and browner than the adults and in some cases boldly streaked both above and below with pale buff or whitish; the ruff consists of long lanceolate buff to brown feathers, boldly streaked with paler; the breast-patch is generally a paler brown.
Distribution. Practically all India South of the Indo-Gangetic plain. It does not occur iu Ceylon nor in Sind.
Nidification. This Vulture breeds during December and January, laying a single egg in large stick nests built on ledges of rock on cliff-sides, or on the summits and sides of outcrops of rocks. It apparently never breeds on trees and the nests and eggs recorded by Parker were undoubtedly those of G. nudiceps which breeds in these same colonies to the present day. One egg Only is laid, the majority white or nearly so but a considerable number are quite well marked with reddish or red-brown blotches, occasional eggs are quite handsome. Twenty eggs average 86.6 x 67.3 mm.: maxima 91.5 x, 68.5 and 84.6 x 68.6 mm.; minima. 81.6 x 64.2 mm.
Habits. Much the same as those of other Vultures; birds of wonderful night and awkward movements on the ground; evil smelling, voracious but cowardly scavengers, never assaulting other living creatures except when they are on the point of death. In parts of Southern India they often collect in numbers over carcases but not in the multitudes in which the White-backed Vulture is often seen.