Indian vulture

   ›      ›   Indian vulture - Gyps indicus.

The Indian vulture (Gyps indicus) belongs to the family Accipitridae. These Indian vulture species are distributed in India, Pakistan and Nepal.

Taxonomy of Indian vulture

  • Scientific Name: Gyps indicus
  • Common Name: Indian vulture
  • French: Vautour indien; German: Indiengeier; Spanish: Buitre indio;
  • Other names: Vultur indicus Scopoli, 1786; Long-billed vulture; Gyps indicus indicus;
  • Family: Accipitridae › Accipitriformes › Aves › Chordata › Animalia
  • Species author: (Scopoli, 1786)
Gyps indicus was earlier classified under genus vultur.


The Indian vulture is a large bird, measuring 80 to 90 cm in length and weighing 5,500 to 6,300 grams. The wingspan is 190 to 260 cm.

These birds have a bald head, very broad wings and short tail feathers. The bill and cere are pale yellow. The neck is blackish with large white neck-ruff. The back and upper wing coverts are buff colored. These birds make cackling, grunting and hissing sounds.

Indian birds - Indian vulture - Gyps indicus
Indian birds - Indian vulture - Gyps indicus



These bird species inhabit open savanna and also open country near villages, towns and cities.

Feeding habits

These bird species are scavengers, feeding mostly from carcasses of dead animals. By soaring high, these birds spot the dead animals.


These bird species nest mainly on cliffs. In rare cases they have been observed to nest on tall trees. Both the parents take part in rearing the chick.


These bird species are distributed in India and Pakistan. It was also recorded in Nepal.

Movement Patterns

The Indian vultures are sedentary. They move in flocks in search of food.

Status and conservation

The global population is now estimated to be 45,000 individual birds.

There is a sharp decline in the population of these bird species and they are considered 'critically endangered'. Kidney failure in vultures caused by feeding on carcasses of animals treated with diclofenac (a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug) was the major cause of sudden decline in populations. Nearly 97% of the population was lost in 1990s. Present threats to the their conservations and survival are degradation of the habitats, human disturbances of breeding pairs and inadequate food availability.

The IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) has categorized and evaluated these bird species and has listed them as "Critically Endangered".

Biological classification of Gyps indicus
Species:G. indicus
Binomial name:Gyps indicus
Distribution:Pakistan, India and Nepal;
Feeding habits:mainly carrion;
IUCN status listing:
Critically Endangered

Popular posts in Birds of India

Image source:
Image Author: T. R. Shankar Raman | Image License: CC BY-SA 3.0
Current topic in Birds of India: Indian vulture - Gyps indicus.
Contact State Tourism or travel agents for bird watching and wildlife tours.