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Long-billed Vulture
Gyps indicus

Status: Critically endangered

Population Trend: Declining.

Other Names: Indian Griffon, Indian Long-billed Vulture, Indian Vulture, Long-billed Griffon.

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Gyps indicus
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Distribution: Indomalayan. Southeastern PAKISTAN and INDIA south of the Ganges River, except for the extreme south, east to Indochina and the northern Malay Peninsula; now extinct in eastern and southern portion of range. more....

Subspecies: Monotypic.

Taxonomy: Based on molecular sequences of the mitochondrial cytochrome b gene, Wink (1995) found that the genera Gyps and Necrosrytes forms a sister clade to a group containing the genera Aegypius, Sarcogyps, Torgos, and Trigonoceps. This species formerly included the Slender-billed Vulture G. tenuirostris, but "re-separation" was recommended by Rasmussen and Parry (2000) and Rasmussen et al. (2001). This conclusion was strongly supported by the recent molecular studies of Johnson et al. (2006), and their accompanying Principal Component Analysis of various morphological characters showed that the two taxa differ markedly in proportions. With the Cape Vulture G. coprotheres of southern Africa, they form a clade sister to a clade consisting of the Eurasian Griffon G.f. fulvus and the recent molecular studies of Johnson et al. (2006) supported a sister relationship between this species and the Eurasian Griffon, G. f. fulvus, with that clade being sister to another clade consisting of the Asian Long-billed Vulture (G. indicus), Slender-billed Vulture (G. tenuirostris), and Rüppell's Vulture (G. rueppellii). more....

Movements: Irruptive or local migrant and an altitudinal migrant in some areas (Bildstein 2006).

Food and Feeding Behavior: Obligate scavenger.

Breeding: Nests in colonies of up to 20 pairs. Nests have traditionally been situated on cliffs, with scattered records of tree nests, but Sangha (2011) recently reported an active nest located on a pylon in Rajasthan. more....

Conservation: Formerly relatively common, but now categorized as Critically Endangered (BirdLife International 2006), since populations have plunged over 97% in the past 15 years as the result of exposure to diclofenac, a drug administered to aging livestock. When vultures consume carcasses containing diclofenac residues, they almost invariably die from renal failure (Oaks et al. 2004). In response to international concerns about the situation, the Indian government announced a halt to the production and sale of diclofenac, and have ordered pharmaceutical firms to promote meloxicam, an alternative to diclofenac, which has been shown to have the same veterinary effect as diclofenac, but to be safe for vultures.more....

Important References: 
Arshad, M., M.J.J. Chaudhary, and M. Wink. 2009. High mortality and sex
  ratio imbalance in a critically declining Oriental White-backed Vulture
  population (Gyps bengalensis) in Pakistan. Journal of Ornithology
Arshad, M., J. Gonzalez, A.A. El-Sayed, T. Osborne, and M. Wink. 2009.
  Phylogeny and physiogeography of critically endangered Gyps species based on
  nuclear and mitochondrial markers. Journal of Ornithology 150:419-430.
Clark, W.S. 1994. Long-billed Vulture. P. 127 in del Hoyo, J., A. Elliott,
  and J. Sargatal (eds). Handbook of birds of the world. Vol. 2. New World
  vultures to guineafowl. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Johnson, J.A., H.R.L. Lerner, P.C. Rasmussen, and D.P. Mindell. 2006.
  Systematics within Gyps vultures: a clade at risk. BMC Evolutionary Biology
  6:65; http://www.biomedcentral.com/1186/1471-2148-6-65.
Murn, C., U. Khan, and F. Farid. 2008. Vulture populations in Pakistan and
  the Gyps vulture restoration project. Vulture News 58:35-43.
Naoroji, R. 2006. Birds of prey of the Indian subcontinent. Christopher
  Helm, London.
Prakash, V., R.E. Green, D.J. Pain, S.P. Ranadi, S. Saravanan, N. Prakash,
  R. Venkitachalam, R. Cuthbert, A.R. Rahmani, and A.A. Cunningham.
  Recent changes in populations of resident Gyps vultures in India. Journal of
  the Bombay Natural History Society 104:129-135.
Prakash, V., D.J. Pain, A.A. Cunningham, P.F. Donald, N. Prakash, A.
  Verma, R. Gargi, S. Sivakumar, and A.R. Rahmani.
2003. Catastrophic
  collapse of Indian White-backed Vultures Gyps bengalensis and
  Long-billed Gyps indicus Vulture populations. Biological
  Conservation 109:381-390.
Rasmussen, P.C., and J.C. Anderton. 2005. Birds of South Asia: the Ripley
  guide. Vols. 1-2. Smithsonian Institution and Lynx Edicions, Washington,
  D.C. and Barcelona, Spain.
Wink, M. 1995. Phylogeny of Old and New World vultures (Aves: Accipitridae
  and Cathartidae) inferred from nucleotide sequences of the mitochondrial
  cytochrome b gene. Verlag der Zeitschrift für Naturforschung 50c:868-882.

Current Research: This species account is not yet completed.

Sites of Interest:
The Peregrine Fund
Currently investigating the cause of vulture declines in Pakistan.
Vulture Rescue
Addresses the decline of Gyps vultures on the Indian subcontinent.
Asian Vulture Population Project
Submit information (species, number of nests, number of chicks, location, etc.) on South Asian vultures at this site to assist in monitoring these species.
Red Data Book Threatened Birds of Asia
Detailed information on status, threats, and proposed conservation actions.

Arshad, Muhammad
Bohra, Dr. Dau Lal
Dave, Ruchi
Gilbert, Martin
Jethva, Dr. Bharat
Johnson, Jeff A.
Kothe, Sudhanshu
Soni, Hiren
Teli, Janki
Virani, Munir

Last modified: 9/12/2011

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2021. Species account: Long-billed Vulture Gyps indicus. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 6 Mar. 2021

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