Griffon vulture

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The griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus) belongs to the family Accipitridae. These griffon vulture species are distributed in Europe, central Asia, Africa and Indian Subcontinent.

Taxonomy of Griffon vulture

  • Scientific Name: Gyps fulvus
  • Common Name: Griffon vulture
  • French: Vautour fauve; German: Gänsegeier; Spanish: Buitre leonado;
  • Other names: Vultur fulvus Hablizl, 1783; Eurasian griffon;
  • Family: Accipitridae › Accipitriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: (Hablizl, 1783)
Gyps fulvus was earlier included in genus vultur. It is closely related to G. himalayensis and G. coprotheres. The two recognized subspecies are: G. f. fulvus (Hablizl, 1783) and G. f. fulvescens A. O. Hume, 1869.

Indian birds - Image of Griffon vulture - Gyps fulvus
Indian birds - Image of Griffon vulture - Gyps fulvus


The griffon vulture is a large bird, measuring 95 to 110 cm in length and weighing 6,000 to 11,000 grams. The wingspan is 240 to 280 cm. Its head and neck are white. The wings are broad and the tail is short. The buff body and wing coverts contrast with the dark flight feathers. They are noisy while feeding, making various grunting and hissing sounds and calls.


The griffon vultures are adapted to wide range of habitats including open country, mountains, plateaux, steppe and semi deserts.

Feeding habits

These vulture species feed on carcasses, typically feeding on muscles and viscera of medium sized and large mammals. They soar high on the thermals to locate dead animals.


These vulture species breed during December and March. They nest on rocky outcrop, with sheltered ledges or small caves and cliffs. The clutch is found to have one egg. Both the parents take part in rearing the chick.


The griffon vulture subspecies G. f. fulvus is distributed in northwest Africa, Europe, Mediterranean region, Turkey, Middle East, Arabia, Iran and Kazakhstan. The subspecies G. f. fulvescens is distributed in Afghanistan, Pakistan and north and northeast India.

Movement Patterns

These vulture species are mostly sedentary. The juveniles and immature vultures may migrate far and make long-distance movements.

Status and conservation

The griffon vulture global range is large and the population is least vulnerable. Threats to conservation of these species include habitat degradation, human activities, wind farms, reduced food availability and a shortage of suitable nesting sites.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these vulture species and has listed them as "Least Concern".

Biological classification of Gyps fulvus
Species:G. fulvus
Binomial name:Gyps fulvus
Distribution:Europe, central Asia, Africa and Indian Subcontinent;
Feeding habits:mainly carrion;
IUCN status listing:
Least Concern

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