Himalayan Vulture - Behaviour and Ecology

Behaviour and Ecology

The Himalayan Vulture perches on crags, favourite sites showing white marks from regular defecation. They bask in the sun on rocks. They soar in thermals and are not capable of sustained flapping flight. Flocks may follow grazers up the mountains in their search for dead animals. On the Tibetan Plateau 64% of their diet is obtained from dead domestic yak. They feed on old carcasses sometimes waiting a couple of days near a dead animal. They have been observed feeding on pine (Pinus roxburghii) needles, an unexplained behaviour that cannot be for obtaining nutrition. The breeding season begins in January. The nest is a platform of sticks placed on an inaccessible ledge on a cliff. Several pairs may nest on the same cliff face. A single white egg marked with red splotches is the usual clutch. In captivity the incubation period was about 54-58 days. The young birds stay on with the parents for six to seven months. This vulture makes a rattling sound when descending on a carcass and can grunt or hiss at roosts or when feeding on carrion.

They are susceptible to toxicity induced by diclofenac, a drug whose residues in domestic animal carcasses has possibly led to rapid declines in populations of other Gyps vultures across Asia. The Himalayan Griffon Vulture populations have however not shown signs of rapid decline although reductions in nesting birds have been noted in some parts of its range in Nepal.

Read more about this topic:  Himalayan Vulture

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