Common Name : Indian Vulture
Scientific Name : Gyps indicus (Scopoli, 1786)
Order : Falconiformes
Family : Accipitridae
Taxonomic Group : Falconiformes - Accipitridae ( Hawks, Kites and Eagles )
Vernacular Name : Hindi: Gidh, Punjab: Lamchunjhi gidh, Bengal: Sakun, Assam: Xagun, Lepcha (Sikkim): Gut, Telugu: Podugumukku boruva, Gujarat: Bhukhro gidh, Girnari gidh, Maharashtra: Gidhad, Maha dho
Common Name : Indian Vulture
Scientific Name : Gyps indicus
Order : Falconiformes Family : Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
Range : Pakistan and India (south of the Ganges River)
This Species is Monotypic, No Subspecies
3rd Edition, 2003. Revised and Corrected per Corrigenda to December 31, 2006
Common Name : Indian Vulture
Scientific Name : Gyps indicus
SubFamily : Accipitrinae
This Species is Monotypic, No Subspecies
IOC Common Name : Indian Vulture
IOC Scientific Name : Gyps indicus
Region : OR Range : se Pakistan, s India
Order : ACCIPITRIFORMES Family : Accipitridae
Category : Kites, Hawks & Eagles
Note: Raptor families Cathartidae, Accipitridae, Sagittariidae, and Pandiondae are in the Order "Accipitriformes" because falcons (Falconidae) are separated as the Order Falconiformes (Hackett et al. 2008)
SYNOPIS NO : 182- 184
Scientific Name: Gyps indicus
Common Name: Longbilled Vulture
Common Name : Indian Vulture
Scientific Name : Gyps indicus ((Scopoli, 1786))
Birdlife Synonym :
BirdLife Redlist Status Year 2010: CR
BirdLife Species FactSheet for Indian Vulture ( Gyps indicus )
Taxonomy Treatment : R
Birdlife Taxonomy Notes : Gyps indicus (Sibley and Monroe, 1990, 1993) has been split into G. indicus and G. tenuirostris following Rasmussen and Parry (2001).
IUCN Common Name (Eng) : Indian Vulture
Scientific Name : Gyps indicus (Scopoli, 1786)
IUCN Redlist Species FactSheet for Indian Vulture ( Gyps indicus )
Species : indicus
Genus : Gyps
Family : Accipitridae Order : Falconiformes
IUCN RedList Status : CR
IUCN RedList Criteria : A2bce+4bce
IUCN RedList Criteria Version : 3.1
IUCN RedList Year Assessed : 2008
IUCN RedList Population Trend : decreasing
IUCN RedList Petitioned : N
Family : ACCIPITRIDAE
Scientific Name : Gyps indicus
Common Name : Long-billed Vulture
IOC Checklist Difference : Indian Vulture;Gyps tenuirostris, Slender-billed Vulture;
Birdlife Checklist Difference : Indian Vulture;Gyps tenuirostris, Slender-billed Vulture;
Birdlife Checklist Justification : Gyps indicus (Sibley and Monroe, 1990, 1993) has been split into G. indicus and G. tenuirostris followingRasmussen and Parry (2001).
Other Justification : Sibley & Monroe (1990) noted that 'Tenuirostris is sometimes considered specifically distinct from indicus, but B. King (pers. comm.) indicates that they are similar and probably not worthy of recognition as species.' Ferguson-Lees & Christie (2001) noted that there are 'Two distinct forms ó which replace each other geographically and have clear differences in bill structure, and head and thigh covering, as well as in nesting and social behaviour -óhave traditionally been treated as conspecific, and it is as races of one species that they are included here. Some authorities have, however, considered them two distinct species in the past, and a stronger case for doing so is now being made (see Rasmussen & Parry).' Rasmussen and Parry (2001) noted that 'The two taxa presently treated as races of the Long-billed Vulture Gyps indicus were initially described as separate species: Gyps indicus (Scopoli 1786) and G. tenuirostris (Gray 1844). Confusion between the two in nomenclature and identity has existed for a long time (e.g. Sharpe 1874). Early in the 20thCentury, indicus and tenuirostris were lumped without careful study, and to add to the confusion, a Pakistani population of Eurasian Griffon Gyps fulvus was mistakenly named as a new race, G. indicus jonesi (Whistler 1927). Since then indicus andtenuirostris have uniformly been treated as conspecific, althoughStresemann and Amadon (1979: 306) listed them as "megasubspecies" (p. 273), and Alström (1997) stated that they may "prove to be better considered as separate species". We have now studied as many specimens and photographs as possible, and these wo taxa prove to be extraordinarily distinct (Rasmussen & Parry 2000). Ö. Our results are somewhat preliminary, but the outcome is entirely clear: no accepted species concept, no matter how broad, can encompass two taxa as distinct as indicus and tenuirostris.' Rasmussen & Anderton (2005) referring to indicus, noted that 'This and Slender-billed Vulture differ markedly in a great many traits and share only a superficial resemblance; their treatment as conspecific cannot be sustained (Rasmussen & Parry 2001). Indian is much more similar to Griffon, while Slender-billed is highly distinctive, with many unique characters and some seemingly paedomorphic ones (retained juvenile traits).' Johnson et al. (2006) noted that their 'molecular phylogenies strongly support the treatment of indicus and tenuirostris as separate species, as does morphological data showing that these two taxa of similar overall size differ in proportions, especially in rostral, alar, and pedal characters.'
Bibliography of Indian Vulture ( Gyps indicus )
Number of Results found : 83
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24. Cunningham AA; , (2003 ), Indian vultures: victims of an infectious disease epidemic?, Animal Conservation, 6:3: 189 - 197.
25. Cunningham AA;Prakash V;Pain D;Ghalsasi GR;Wells GAH;Kolte GN;Nighor P;Goudar MS;Kshirisagar S;Rahmani A; , (2003 ), Indian vultures: victims of an infectious disease epidemic?, Animal Conservation, 6: 189 - 197.
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28. Cunningham AA;Pain D;Prakash V; , (2002 ), Catastrophic declines of Griffon Vultures in India, Falco, 20: 10 - 11.
29. Changani AK;Mohnot SM;Purohit AK; , (2002 ), Population status of vultures in and around Jodhpur with species reference to Long-billed Vulture (Gyps indicus indicus), Journal of Nature Conservation, 14: 141 - 150.
30. Anon; , (2002 ), Monitoring of Gyps vultures continues in India and Pakistan, International Hawkwatcher, 6: 18.
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35. Gilbert M; , (2001 ), An unexpected Christmas present, The Peregrine Fund Newsletter, 32: 20 - 21.
36. Cunningham AA;Prakash V;Ghalsasi GR;Pain D;Katzner T;Parry-Jones J; , (2001 ), Investigating the cause of catastrophic declines in Asian Griffon Vultures (Gyps indicus and G. bengalensis ), Reports from the Workshop on Indian Gyps vultures Seville, Spain Estaci'n Biol'gica Dona$a/Raptor Research Foundation;, : 10 - 11.
37. Satheesan SM; , (2001), Vultures on death row, Down To Earth, 9:21: 48 - 49.
38. Sashikumar C; , (2001), Vultures in Kerala, Newsletter for Birdwatchers, 41:1: 1 - 3.
39. Rao P; , (2001), Vultures in Rajaji National Park, Uttar Pradesh, Newsletter for Birdwatchers, 41:1: 13.
40. Pittie A; , (2001), Birding notes, Pitta, 119:: 6.
41. Rasmussen, P. C., W. C. Clark, S. J. Parry, J. Schmitt. , (2001), Field identification of 'Long-billed' vultures (Indian and Slender-billed Vultures)., Oriental Bird Club Bulletin, 34: 24 - 29.
42. Krys Kazmierczak; Ber van Perlo , (2000), Indian or Long-billed Vulture (Gyps indicus), A FIELD GUIDE TO THE BIRDS OF THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT; Yale University Press, : 80.
43. Satheesan SM; , (2000 ), The role of poisons in the Indian vulture population crash, Vulture News, 42: 168.
44. Holden C; , (2000 ), India's vultures declining, Science, 289: 1679.
45. Anon; , (2000 ), Vulture crisis deepens, World Birdwatch, 22: 2.
46. Guruprasad TV;Prawiradilaga D; , (2000 ), Decline in vulture population in Tumkur District, Proceedings Asian Raptor Research Conservation: the Second Symposium on Raptors of Asia, Grand Aquila, Bandung -- Indonesia, 25-27 July 2000 Cibinong, Indonesia Indonesian Committee for the Second Symposium of Asian Raptor Research and Conservation;, : 14 - 20.
47. Varu SN; , (2000), Most species of vultures of Kachchh in one place, Newsletter for Birdwatchers, 40:2: 27.
48. Sarath CR; , (2000), Vultures of Nagarhole National Park, Newsletter for Birdwatchers, 40:2: 26.
49. Pitches A; , (2000), Around the Orient: India, Oriental Bird Club Bulletin, 32:: 31 - 33.
50. Prakash V;Rahmani AR; , (1999 ), Notes about the decline of Indian vultures, with particular reference to Keoladeo National Park, Vulture News, 41: 6.
51. Prakash V; , (1999), Status of vultures in Keoladeo National Park, Bharatpur, Rajasthan, with special reference to population crash in Gyps species, Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 96:3: 365 - 378.
52. Rahmani AR; , (1998), A possible decline of vultures in India, Oriental Bird Club Bulletin, 28:: 40 - 41.
53. , (1997), Field identification of Asian Gyps vultures, Oriental Bird Club Bulletin, 25:: 32 - 49.
54. AlstrÃ¶m, P. , (1996), Field identification of Asian Gyps vultures., Oriental Bird Club Bulletin, 25: 32 - 49.
55. Saikia P;Bhattacharjee PC; , (1990), Indian Longbilled Vulture nesting in Assam, Newsletter for Birdwatchers, 30:1-2: 9.
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58. Grubh, R. B. , (1988), A comparative study of the ecology and distribution of the Indian White-backed Vulture (Gyps bengalensis) and the Long-billed Vulture (G. indicus) in the Indian region., Proc. Internatl. Ornithol. Cong., 19: 2763 - 2767.
59. Tilak R;Narang ML; , (1987 ), Association between Longbilled Vulture, Gyps indicus (Scopoli) and House Crow, Corvus splendens Vieillot, Bulletin of the Zoological Survey of India, 8: 325.
60. Tilak R;Narang ML; , (1987), Association between Longbilled Vulture, Gyps indicus (Scopoli) and House Crow, Corvus splendens Vieillot, Bulletin of the Zoological Survey of India, 86:1-3: 325.
61. Grubh R; , (1986), A comparative study of ecology and distribution of Indian Whitebacked Vulture (Gyps bengalensis) and Longbilled Vulture (Gyps indicus) in the Indian region, Proceedings of the 19th International Ornithological Congress, 2:: 2763 - 2767.
62. Kumar P; , (1983), Survey of the birds of Andhra Pradesh - 9, Mayura, 4:2: 3 - 5.
63. Salim Ali; S Dillon RipleyÂ , (1978), No. 184. Himalayan Longbilled Vulture (Gyps indicus tenuirostris ) G. R. Gray, Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan; Oxford University Press, New Delhi, Volume 1 (Divers to Hawks ): 306.
64. Salim Ali; S Dillon RipleyÂ , (1978), No. 182. Indian Longbilled Vulture (Gyps indicus indicus ) (Scopoli), Handbook of the Birds of India and Pakistan; Oxford University Press, New Delhi, Volume 1 (Divers to Hawks ): 304.
65. Grubh RB; , (1978 ), Field identification of some Indian vultures ( Gyps bengalensis, G. indicus, G. fulvus , and Torgos calvus ), Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 75: 444 - 449.
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67. Grubh RB; , (1978), The Griffon Vultures (Gyps bengalensis, G. indicus & G. fulvus) of Gir forest: Their feeding habits and the nature of association with the Asiatic Lion, Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 75:Supp: 1058 - 1068.
68. Grubh RB; , (1978), Competition and co-existence in Griffon Vultures: Gyps bengalensis, G. indicus and G. fulvus in Gir forest, Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 75:3: 810 - 814.
69. Grubh RB; , (1974 ), The ecology and behaviour of vultures in Gir Forest, Bombay, India University of Bombay, Ph.D. dissertation;, : .
70. Fischer AB; , (1969 ), [Laboratory experiments on and open-country observations of the visual acuity and behavior of Old World vultures], Zoologische Jahrb cher Systematik, 96: 81 - 132.
71. Ali S;Abdulali H; , (1951), 'Birds of the Londa neighbourhood', - a correction, Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 50:1: 176.
72. Ali S;Abdulali H; , (1945), Some recent records of the Griffon Vulture (Gyps fulvus fulvescens Hume) in Peninsular India - a correction, Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 45:2: 236 - 237.
73. Lowther EHN; , (1944), Notes on some Indian birds IX - Eagles, Owls and Vultures, Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 45:1: 5 - 16.
74. Livesey TR; , (1939), Vultures feeding at night, Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 40:4: 755 - 756.
75. Whistler H; , (1927), [Description of a new subspecies of vulture-Gyps indicus jonesi], Bulletin of the British Ornithologists Club, 47:311: 74 - 75.
76. Baker ECS; , (1927), [Renaming of Gyps indicus tenuirostris to G. i. nudiceps, Bulletin of the British Ornithologists Club, 47:316: 151.
77. Gill EH; , (1921), Nidification of the Himalayan Longbilled Vulture (Gyps tenuirostris), Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 27:4: 951 - 952.
78. Mathews WH; , (1918), Note on the Indian Long-billed Vulture Gyps indiucs, Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 26:1: 287.
79. Jones AE; , (1916), Gyps tenuirostris (Hodgson), the Himalayan Longbilled Vulture, breeding near Ambala, Punjab, Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 24:2: 358.
80. Betham RM;Parry-Jones J; , (1907), Breeding of the Common or Grey Quail (Coturnix communis) and the Desert Lark (Aloemon desertorum)Report of the international seminar on the Indian vulture situation Sept. 2000, Journal of the Bombay Natural History Society, 17:3: 848.
81. Hume AO; , (1878), Notes, Stray Feathers, 7:1-2: 149 - 170.
82. Hume AO; , (1873), Contributions to the ornithology of India. Sindh, No. 2, Stray Feathers, 1:2,3&4: 91 - 289.
83. Scopoli GA; , (1786), Deliciae florae et faunae Insubricae, seu novae aut minus cognitae species plantarum et animalium quas in Insubria Austriaca tam spontaneas quam exoticas vidit, descripsit et aeri incidi curavit, Journal of the Asiatic Society of Bengal, 2:: .
Vultur, apud ScopoLi - Temminck, Pl. col. 26 - Sykes, Cat. 1 - BLyth, Cat. 134 - Horsf., Cat. 6 - Jerdon, Cat. and Suppl. Cat. 1 - Gray's I11. Gen. of Birds, pl. 3 - V. tenuiceps and V. tenuirostris, Hodgs. - Sagun, Sakun, Sogen and Changoun, Beng.
- Maha dho, Mahr., Burra gidh or Phari gidh, H.
Long-Billed Brown Vulture.
Descr. - Pale cinereous brown, albescent on the back and rump ; the greater coverts and scapulars darker, quills and tail blackish brown; beneath pale tawny, brown on the sides of the breast and¬† flanks ; axillaries much lengthened, whity brown ; feathers of the ruff whitish, rather short; thighs internally white and downy; head and neck nearly bare ; crop covered, with short close dark chocolate brown feathers. Bill and cere bluish horny, dusky at the tip ; legs and feet dusky cinerous; irides¬† brown. Length 43 inches ; wing, 26 to 29; tail 12 ; ext. 8 feet; tarsus 4 1/2¬† ; mid toe and claw 4 3/4; bill at gape 3; height 1 3/8.
Adams gives it as occasionally 4 feet long, and nearly 9 feet in expanse, and 19lbs. in weight. Surely this must have been an individual of Gyps fulvus. The young bird is paler, both above and below; the head and neck are covered with whitish down, and the feathers of the ruff are longer, lanceolate, and edged with dark brown.
The nostrils are somewhat oblique, oblong; and the bill is much elongated and slender, and the ceral portion especially is long. There are six or seven scales on the outer toe; the hind elaw is more curved and larger than in fulvus; the tail is of fourteen feathers. Bonaparte erroneously gives this species as identical" with G. Bengalensis.
This Vulture is found over all India, more rarely towards the south, and then chiefly near mountains. It is very abundant in Burmah. It does not in general enter towns and villages like the next speoies. It is not rare on the Neilgherries, and breeds on some of the cliffs on their northern face, also on the cliffs bounding the valley in which are situated the celebrated eaves of Ajanta.
4 bis. :- Butler, Guzerat; Stray Feathers, Vol. III, p. 442 ; Deccan and South Mahratta country; Stray Feathers, Vol. IX, p. 369; Swinhoe and Barnes, Central India; Ibis, 1885, p. 54.
The Long-billed Pale-brown Vulture.
Length, 36 to 39 ; expanse, 85 to 90 ; wing, 23 to 25.5 ; tail from vent, 10 to 11; tarsus, 3.5 to 4 ;bill from gape, 2.65 to 2.95; weight, 11 to 14 lbs.
Bill and cere pale greenish, yellowish horny on culmen and blackish. towards tips of mandibles; bare skin of head and face dusky ashy-leaden ; irides brown; legs and feet dingy ashy-leaden; margins of scales whitish ; claws creamy-horny.
In the perfect adult brownish-white hair-like feathers are thinly sprinkled over the head, nape, cheeks, and throat; the upper half of the back and sides of the neck are perfectly bare; the crop-patch is closely covered with silky tight-fitting, dark hair-brown feathers; the whole of the rest of the lower surface is a pale whity-brown, becoming almost a pure white towards the vent and lower tail-coverts; the ruff is full, soft, and pure white, of very downy feathers, the webs much disintegrated; the whole mantle is pale earthy-brown, the centres of the lesser, and all but the tips and margins of the larger scapulars being dark hair-brown.
The lower back, rump and upper tail-coverts white, tinged with pale earthy brown, many of the feathers, however, especially of the longer tail-coverts, being brown at the base, but so broadly tipped and margined with the paler color that little of the brown shows ; the primaries and tail-feathers are deep chocolate-brown; the secondaries and tertiaries hair-brown, more or less suffused on their outer webs with pale dingy earthy or fulvous-brown.
A quite young bird has the top and back of the head, and upper part of the back of the neck, thickly covered with white down; the rest of the head and neck, as in the adult; the crop-patch much lighter than in the adult, is covered with pale, dove-colored brown feathers; the rest of the lower surface is pale brown, becoming albescent towards the vent, each feather broadly centred (most conspicuously so on the sides and breast), with dingy white; the ruff, of long, linear lanceolate feathers, is a very pale fulvous-white, faintly margined with brown; the mantle a somewhat pale hair-brown, every feather narrowly, but conspicuously, centred with fulvous-white; the quill-feathers and tail-feathers chocolate-brown, darkest on the primaries and rectrices; the lower back, rump, and upper tail-coverts are nearly pure white, only a few of the longest being tinged with brown.
In an intermediate stage the crop-patch is intermediate in color between that of the adult and of the young, as is also the color and character of the ruff, and indeed of the whole plumage.
This bird differs at all ages' from bengalensis in having fourteen instead of twelve rectrices. :- Hume, " Rough Notes."
With the exception of Sind, this Vulture is common throughout the Presidency. It breeds on cliffs during December and January; the egg is usually very pale greenish-white, but is occasionally spotted and blotched with' pale-reddish or faint purplish-brown. They average 3.61 in length by 2.72 in breadth.
Hume,¬†Stray F. i. p. 150; id. vol. iii. p. 442 ; id. vol. ii. p. 325, vol. ix. p. 369 ; Swinhoe and Barnes, B. of Central India, Ibis, vol. 1885, p. 54 ; Barnes, Birds of Bombay, p. 5. Gyps indicus, Eume, Rough Notes, i. p. 21.-
The Long-billed Vulture.
Gyps indicus (Scop.), Jerd. B. Ind. i, p. 9; Hume, Cat. no. 4.
Common as this Vulture is, I have only one note on its nidification. Mr. J. O. Parker writes :- " On the banks of the beautiful lake at Mogra, situated in the extreme N.E. corner of the 24 Pergunnahs, I discovered these birds breeding on the 20th January of this year. The nests were all built on cotton-trees with one exception, and this was on a peepul; the latter was so large and the foliage so dense, that I did not discover it until my second visit to the lake on the 11th February, when it had a young one just hatched in it. In no instance did I observe more than one nest on a tree, and the nests themselves were all of the same construction, made up of boughs broken off fresh, the leaves still adhering but of course quite withered. This circumstance gave the nests a very snug and compact appearance, unlike those of Pseudogyps bengalensis, which always have, as far as my experience goes, a considerable quantity of sticks worked into them. I only secured two eggs on this occasion, dirty white in colour and measuring 3.60 by 2.90 and 3.20 by 2.60 ; the large egg hard-set, the other fresh. I shot both the birds sitting on the nests. One proved to be a male, weighing 13 1/2 lbs.; the other, of which the sex could not be satisfactorily identified, weighed 14 1/2 lbs. As the time left is but short after marching some ten miles as the crow flies from the station at Muddapore, E. B. Ry., to the lake, 1 was unable to beat up the quarters of a colony of these birds, plainly visible across the lake about two miles off, so had to defer that pleasure until my next visit (11th February). The nests, six in number, were all on cotton-trees, which at this season were naked and bare of leaves. Each nest had a single young one in it a few days old. Doubtless there were many more nests in the neighbourhood, but the trees are all of very large size, so that unless separately examined the nests, in spite of their size, are not easily seen."
The eggs are broad ovals, usually very symmetrical, sometimes slightly pointed towards one end. The shelf is very hard and¬† strong, but, compared with that of the eggs of Gyps pallescens, rather coarse-grained. They run rather smaller also, I think, than. these. The colour is nearly pure white, with just a faint greyish¬† tinge, and very few eggs seem to show markings.¬†¬†¬†
Fight eggs vary from 3.39 to 3.62 in length, and from 2.68 to 2.78 in breadth.
The Pallid Vulture.
Gyps indicus (Scop.), apud Hume, Rough Draft N. & E. no. 4.
Gyps pallescens, Hume; Hume, Cat. no. 4 bis.
Our present species breeds in the latter part of December January, and possibly the early part of February ; by the end of March every egg has been hatched off. It always selects, as far as my experience goes, nearly inaccessible and precipitous cliffs to breed on ; but as I have only yet found it breeding in two places, viz., at the Taragurh Hill near Ajmere, and the Gaimookh cliffs on. Mount Aboo, I cannot speak positively. Jerdon, how ever, mentions that the present species breeds on " some of the cliffs bounding the valley, in which are situated the celebrated caves of Ajunta; " and Mr. R. Thompson found their nests on the cliffs of the Puchmurrees.
The breeding-places of this species (they appear always to breed in society) are often very picturesquely situated. The Taragurh Hill, which overlooks and almost overhangs the city of Ajmere and the beautiful Ana Sagur Lake, may be about 2900 feet above the level of the sea. On precipitous faces of this hill, especially where succeeding overlapping ledges make the place as nearly inaccessible as may be, colonies of this Vulture breed. One of these breeding haunts, which I minutely examined, was a cliff-face some 100 feet high by 300 wide, all broken up into irregular ledges, of which the highest overhung all the rest. In amongst the ledges were a few dwarf banyan-trees, whose long bare roots and rootlets hung down, here and there, in dense, grey, giant skeins ; all the ledges but the uppermost, when looked at from below, seemed garnished with heavy white fringes, the white droppings of the birds having run down in close parallel lines in a wonderfully symmetrical fashion over the weather-smoothed edges of the terraces. Seen from a distance, the whole cliff-face seemed mottled with huge patches of whitewash. Bleached bones and dusky quills strewed every little plateau, and nestled in every cranny. It was on the 30th of March, 1867, that I laid siege to this natural fortress. With the assistance of two sporting Mahomedan faqeers - two of the best cragsman I ever saw - I crept, having duly removed my boots, to the lowest ledge, a work of extreme difficulty, owing to the excessive slipperiness of the white-crusted rocks. To my intense disgust, a little apart from the nest, on the bare stone, sat a huge unwieldy mass of yellow fluffy down, opening a vast mouth and cackling and hissing at me in the most hostile manner. The unfortunate little wretch was too fat and heavy to stand firmly on its stumpy legs, and could only stand up for a second, stagger a few inches, and then plump down exhausted. It was about 10 a.m., and all the old ones were away procuring food, and during the two hours we remained about the rocks, only one of them at all closely approached the place, although before we left the whole community - I should say nearly sixty in number - had collected in the valley (in one side of which the cliff was situated), and kept wheeling and circling round above their homes, but at a distance of fully 1/4 mile. We left the dingy little tenant of the first nest in peace, and slowly and painfully made our way to one after another of the nest-filled ledges. Everywhere we found the nests empty; but in the case of about half the number, a more or less advanced young one of from a week to more than a month old was squatting on the bare rock a few feet from the nest. Those nests near which no young was seen had obviously not been tenanted. At the time I fancied that these belonged to birds that had not yet laid, but I had the place closely watched for nearly a mouth without any one of them being used, so that I presume that the birds often find their first nest unsuitable in some way and construct a second, in which to incubate their egg.
The nest, placed on some ledge of the cliff's face, consists only of coarse sticks and twigs. When the eggs are first laid, there may be some lining of leaves, as in those of many other kinds of Vultures and Eagles; but when I visited the place the young were all hatched and the nest so coated with their droppings that it was impossible to trace any lining. The nest is nothing more than a thin, flat, irregularly circular pad of sticks, from 2 to 3 feet in diameter, and from 3 to 6 inches in depth.
As a rule, they only lay a single egg. Of all the fifty odd nests to which I made my way, not one contained more than a single young One.
Captain Repton, Deputy Commissioner of Ajmere, very kindly secured for me a noble series of eggs from these very nests, ten months after I had visited them.
Messrs. Davidson and Wenden write :- " At ad seasons moderately common in the Sholapoor Districts. It breeds on some of the Satara cliffs in Tadli, and also in the valley of the Sina at Naywi."
And Mr. H. Wenden records the following note :- " On 6th December I noticed this species breeding on the splendid overhanging cliffs of the northern face of the Perseek Hills, through which the G. I. P. Railway passes by two tunnels, some 24 miles from Bombay, There were several nests; all on (to me) inaccessible ledges. One, into which I could see and on which sat or rather lay a bird, with its wings spread out and its neck stretched close to the rock, as though it were endeavouring to hide, contained One egg."
The egg's normal type is a very long oval. More or less elongated varieties are not uncommon; and in an enormous series that I took during the last fortnight in December 1877 at Ajmere, when, by the way, many were very hard-set and most of them more or less incubated, I found that one in five were more or less marked with pale reddish-brown blotches, spots, and mottlings at one or other end; and about one in twelve were most handsomely blotched and spotted, sometimes over the entire egg, sometimes exclusively at one end, where even when they extend over the whole egg they are always densest, with rich burnt sienna to blood-red. In these richly-coloured eggs there are usually also some pale purple secondary markings. Taking a large body, the eggs of this species are of a somewhat finer texture, more elongated, and more richly coloured than those of Gyps indicus. They vary in length from 3.48 to 3.9 inches, and in breadth from 2.62 to 2.85 inches. The average dimensions of twenty-one eggs were 3.61 by 2.72 inches.
The Indian Long-billed Vulture
Vultur indicus, Scop. Del. Flor. et Faun. Insub. ii, p. 85 (1786); Sykes, P. Z. S. 1832, p. 77. Gyps bengalensis, apud J. F. Gray in Hardw. Ill. Ind. Zool. i, pl. 15; nec Gm. Gyps indicus, Blyth, Cat. p. 33, partim; Horsf. & M. Cat. i, p. 4, pt.; Jerdon, B. I. i, p. 9, pt.; id. Ibis, 1871, p. 235; Hume, Rough Notes, p. 21; id. N. & F. p. 5; id. Cat. no. 4; Adam, S. F. i, p. 367; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. i, p. 10, pt.; Davidson & Wend. S. F. vii, p. 72; Vidal, S. F. ix, p. 29; Davison, S. F. x, p. 332. Gyps pallescens, Hume, S. F. i, p. 150 (1873) ; vii, pp. 165, 325; id. Cat. no. 4 bis; Sharpe, Cat. B. M. i, p. 11; Butler, S. F. iii, p. 442 ; ix, p. 369; Bingham, S. F. viii, p. 190; Davidson, S. F. x, p. 285; Swinhoe & Barnes, Ibis, 1885, p. 54; Barnes, Birds Bom. p. 5; id. Jour. Bom. N. H. Soc. iii, p. 207 ; Oates in Hume's N. & E. 2nd ed. iii, p. 203.
Gidh, H.; Gidad, Maha-dho, Mahr.
Coloration. Adult. Short brownish-white hair-like feathers thinly sprinkled all round the head and on the nape; upper half of back and sides of neck, and all the front, with small tufts of white down scattered over them; ruff disintegrated, soft and white; back pale brown, upper wing-coverts still paler, all the feathers palest on their edges; lower back and rump brown, with broad white borders to the feathers, sometimes whitish throughout; upper tail-coverts darker brown, pale-edged; larger wing-coverts :and scapulars the same; quills and tail-feathers blackish brown; crop generally uniform dark brown, but sometimes light brown or even white; lower parts whity brown, with indistinct broad pale shaft-stripes.
Young very like that of C. himalayensis; the head and nape more thickly clad than in the adult; a ruff of long lanceolate feathers, whitish, with brown edges at each side; upper back, smaller scapulars, and wing-coverts dark brown, with narrow whitish shaft-stripes ; lower back and rump whitish; quills and tail nearly black; crop brown; abdomen and under wing-coverts light brown, with broad whitish shaft-stripes.
Bill and cere pale greenish, yellowish horny on culmen; irides brown; bare skin of head and face dusky ashy leaden; legs and feet the same; claws creamy horny (Hume).
Length about 38; tail 11; wing 23 ; tarsus 3.75 ; mid-toe without claw 3.9; bill from gape 2.8.
Distribution. Throughout the greater part of the Peninsula of India, south of the Indo-G-angetic plain‚ÄĒnot in Sind nor in Ceylon.
Habits, &c. The Long-billed Vulture breeds from December to February in colonies on precipitous cliffs, laying a single egg, greenish white, generally unspotted, sometimes spotted or blotched with reddish brown, and measuring about 3.61 by 2.72.
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.
The Himalayas Long-billed Vulture.
Gyps indicus jonesi Whistler, Bull. B. O. C, xlvii, p. 74 (1927) (Bawal Pindi).
Vernacular names. None recorded.
Description. " Differs from G. i. indicus in its larger size, darker coloration and thicker covering of the head and neck. The body-plumage is a dull earthen-brown, colour with faint shaft-stripes, this colour being duller and darker even than in G. fulvus or G. himalayensis. The crop-patch is a more sooty-brown than in G. indicus and the rump is brown slightly marked with white as opposed to the white rump necked with brown in the typical form. The head is clothed with thick buffy-white hairs and the neck with thick white down, as thickly as in G. fulvus or G. himalayensis. Buff white tinged with buff, the feathers short and downy, as in the typical form."
Colours of soft parts. Apparently the same as in the other races.
Measurements. Wing 700 to 750 mm.; tail 300 to 810 mm.; tarsus 100 to 109 mm.; culmen about 71 to 74 mm.; depth 35 to 36 mm.
Distribution. Lower ranges of hills, 1,500 to 2,500 feet between the Salt range and the Indus.
Nidification. Mr. A. E. Jones, the discoverer of this fine Vulture, found a colony breeding on a cliff of a low range of hills known as the Kala Chita Reserve, near Gampbellpur, West Punjab. The nests were "rather scanty, composed of twigs with the leaves still adhering 1o them and a small quantity of dried grass, measuring from two to two-and-a-half feet in diameter. The nests were placed 20 to 30 feet apart on separate and distinct ledges but the whole cliff-face was whitewashed with their droppings and they had evidently occupied this breeding-place for many years."
Habits. Similar, so far as is known, to those of other Vultures of the genus Gyps. This Vulture is probably a form restricted in its breeding-area to the low hills at the "foot of the North-Western Himalayas.
The Northern Long-billed Vulture.
Gyps indicus nudiceps Stuart Baker, Bull. B. O. C., xlvii. p. 151 (1947) (Nepal). Gyps tenuirostris Hume, Str. Feath., vii, p. 326 (1878) (Nepal) Blanf. & Oates, iii, p. 323.
Vernacular names. Sagun (Beng.); Hogun (Assam); Gut (Lepcha).
Description. Differs from the preceding form in having the head and neck practically naked, having no hairy down on the crown and nape and either none or very little on the neck ^ the upper plumage is sometimes darker and browner and the underpays more brown and less fulvous ; the bill is more slender with a rather larger, more open nostril.
Distribution. The Lower Himalayas from Kashmir to Eastern Assam, Burma and, according to Blyth, the Malay Peninsula. It is extremely common in parts of Assam and almost equally so in Eastern Bengal throughout the plains. It also extends into the plains of Northern India but is much less common than further East and its exact limits to the South have not been denned.
Nidification. The Northern race of Long-billed Vulture breeds from the middle of November to the end of February and builds its nest on trees, not on cliffs, even when these are available. The nest is like that of the other Vultures which breed in similar places, great structures of sticks and branches, used for several years but always renewed and lined with green branches and leaves. Parker found them breeding in colonies in the 24th Parganas and I found large colonies in Assam and Eastern Bengal, though in no case did I find more than one nest in any tree. Some were built low down, some at inaccessible heights in huge Cotton-trees. Only one egg is laid, like that of other birds of the genus but, as a series, better marked and I have one or two which are more like well-marked Eagle's eggs than those of Vultures. One hundred eggs average 84.7 X 63.6 mm.: maxima 91.8 X 65.4 and 90.7 X 67.9 mm.; minima 76.1 x 62.8 and 78.4 x 59.9 mm.
Habits. Those of the genus. It is one of the Vultures which haunt the vicinity of villages and breed on the trees round about them.
Gyps indicus indicus Scopoli.
Vultur indicus Scopoli, Del. Flor. et Faun. Insubr., vol. ii, p. 85, 1786: Pondicherry.
Gyps indicus jonesi Whistler, Bull. B. O. C., vol. xlvii, p. 74, 1920: Rawai Pindi.
Gyps indicus nudiceps Stuart Baker, Bull, B. O. C. vol. xlvii, p. 151, 1927: Nepal.
Gyps tenuirostris Hume, Str. Feath., vol. vii, p. 356, 1878.
Gyps tenuirostris Gray, Hand-l., vol. i, p. 2, 1844, synonym of indicus. Gyps tenuiceps id., ibid.
Gyps pallescens Hume, Str. Feath., vol. i, p. 150,1873: Ajmere.
Number of Museum Specimen Records Found : 17 for Gyps indicus
|No.||Museum||Species||Collection Deatils||Collector||Date of Collection||Record||Locality||GBIF Portal Link||1||National Chemical Laboratory||Gyps indicus||NCL INDOBIS-DATASET1 758||Unknown||Chilka Lake, Orissa, India India Southern Asia||Link|
|2||Field Museum||Gyps indicus indicus||FMNH Birds 228895||1938-02-18 00:00:00.0||Specimen||Jagalbed Bombay India Southern Asia||Link|
|3||Field Museum||Gyps indicus indicus||FMNH Birds 228901||1946-12-12 00:00:00.0||Specimen||Bheraghat Jabalpur Madhya Pradesh India Southern Asia||Link|
|4||Field Museum||Gyps indicus indicus||FMNH Birds 228893||1946-12-13 00:00:00.0||Specimen||Bheraghat Jabalpur Madhya Pradesh India Southern Asia||Link|
|5||Field Museum||Gyps indicus indicus||FMNH Birds 228903||1946-12-13 00:00:00.0||Specimen||Bheraghat Jabalpur Madhya Pradesh India Southern Asia||Link|
|6||Field Museum||Gyps indicus indicus||FMNH Birds 228894||1946-12-23 00:00:00.0||Specimen||Bheraghat Jabalpur Madhya Pradesh India Southern Asia||Link|
|7||Field Museum||Gyps indicus indicus||FMNH Birds 228904||1946-12-23 00:00:00.0||Specimen||Bheraghat Jabalpur Madhya Pradesh India Southern Asia||Link|
|8||Field Museum||Gyps indicus tenuirostris||FMNH Birds 228896||1947-02-05 00:00:00.0||Specimen||Nichlaul Gorakhpur Uttar Pradesh India Southern Asia||Link|
|9||Field Museum||Gyps indicus tenuirostris||FMNH Birds 228899||1947-02-07 00:00:00.0||Specimen||Nichlaul Gorakhpur Uttar Pradesh India Southern Asia||Link|
|10||Field Museum||Gyps indicus tenuirostris||FMNH Birds 228897||1947-02-15 00:00:00.0||Specimen||Kalnahi Uttar Pradesh India Southern Asia||Link|
|11||Field Museum||Gyps indicus indicus||FMNH Birds 228898||1947-09-09 00:00:00.0||Specimen||Garhwa Road Bihar India Southern Asia||Link|
|12||Field Museum||Gyps indicus indicus||FMNH Birds 228900||1947-09-09 00:00:00.0||Specimen||Garhwa Road Bihar India Southern Asia||Link|
|13||Field Museum||Gyps indicus indicus||FMNH Birds 228902||1947-09-09 00:00:00.0||Specimen||Garhwa Road Bihar India Southern Asia||Link|
|14||University of Michigan Museum of Zoology||Gyps indicus nudiceps||UMMZ Bird 140551||Koelz, Walter N||1949-11-13 00:00:00.0||Specimen||Palasbari [Kamrup] Assam India Southern Asia||Link|
|15||University of Michigan Museum of Zoology||Gyps indicus nudiceps||UMMZ Bird 140548||Koelz, Walter N||1952-01-30 00:00:00.0||Specimen||Palasbari [Kamrup] Assam India Southern Asia||Link|
|16||University of Michigan Museum of Zoology||Gyps indicus nudiceps||UMMZ Bird 140549||Koelz, Walter N||1952-01-30 00:00:00.0||Specimen||Palasbari [Kamrup] Assam India Southern Asia||Link|
|17||University of Michigan Museum of Zoology||Gyps indicus nudiceps||UMMZ Bird 140550||Koelz, Walter N||1952-01-31 00:00:00.0||Specimen||Palasbari [Kamrup] Assam India Southern Asia||Link|
Biodiversity occurrence data provided by: (Accessed through GBIF Data Portal, 2009-08-06)
- Field Museum ( 12 Records )
- National Chemical Laboratory ( 1 Records )
- University of Michigan Museum of Zoology ( 4 Records )
Avibase - The World Bird Database for Indian Vulture ( Gyps indicus )
BirdLife Species FactSheet for Indian Vulture ( Gyps indicus )
Biodiversity Heritage Library for Indian Vulture ( Gyps indicus )
Discover Life Maps for Indian Vulture ( Gyps indicus )
Entrez, The Life Sciences Search Engine for Indian Vulture ( Gyps indicus )
GBIF, Global Biodiversity Information Facility for Indian Vulture ( Gyps indicus )
Google Images for Indian Vulture ( Gyps indicus )
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Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) for Indian Vulture ( Gyps indicus )
Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS) CANADA for Indian Vulture ( Gyps indicus )
IUCN Redlist Species FactSheet for Indian Vulture ( Gyps indicus )
NCBI Molecular Data for Indian Vulture ( Gyps indicus )
Pubmed Literature for Indian Vulture ( Gyps indicus )
Catalogue of Life : Annual Checklist for Indian Vulture ( Gyps indicus )
Tree Of Life for Indian Vulture ( Gyps indicus )
uBio Portal for Indian Vulture ( Gyps indicus )
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Wikipedia for Indian Vulture ( Gyps indicus )
Xeno - Canto for Indian Vulture ( Gyps indicus )
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Cite this website along with its URL as:
Anonymous. 2013 Gyps indicus - Scopoli, 1786 (Indian Vulture ) in Deomurari, A.N. (Compiler), 2010. AVIS-IBIS (Avian Information System - Indian BioDiversity Information System) v. 1.0. Foundation For Ecological Security, India retrieved on 05/17/2013