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Old World vulture

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Title: Old World vulture  
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Subject: Bearded vulture, Vulture, New World vulture, Accipitridae, Gyps
Collection: Bird Subfamilies, Old World Vultures
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Old World vulture

Old World vultures
Lappet-faced vultures (left) and a white-backed vulture
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Subfamily: Aegypiinae and Gypaetinae

See text.

Old World vultures are vultures which are found in the Old World, i.e. the continents of Europe, Asia and Africa, and which belong to the family Accipitridae, which also includes eagles, buzzards, kites, and hawks.

Old World vultures are not closely related to the superficially similar

  • Vulture videos on the Internet Bird Collection
  • videos, photographs and resources on Indian birds
  • A griffon vulture nest on the Web

External links

  • Di Quinzio, M.; McCarthy, A. (2008-02-26). "Rabies risk among travellers".  
  • Grimmett, Richard; Inskipp, Carol; Inskipp, Tim (1999). Birds of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and the Maldives. Illustrated by Clive Byers et al. Princeton University Press.  
  • Lerner, Heather R. L.; Mindell, David P. (November 2005). "Phylogeny of eagles, Old World vultures, and other Accipitridae based on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA" (PDF). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 37 (2): 327–346.  
  • Sinclair, Ian; Hockey, Phil; Tarboton, Warwick (2002). SASOL Birds of Southern Africa. Illustrated by Peter Hayman & Norman Arlott (3rd ed.). Cape Town: Struik.  
  • "Bird groups hopeful on vultures". London:  
  • Gentleman, Amelia (2006-03-28). "India's Vultures Fall Prey to a Drug in the Cattle They Feed On". The New York Times.  
  • Nair, Preetu (2009-05-09). "Rare breed of vulture spotted in Goa after eight years". Times Of India. Retrieved 2011-05-29. 
  1. ^ Lerner & Mindell 2005.
  2. ^ (Griffiths et al. 2007, Lerner and Mindell 2005)
  3. ^ a b Mundy, P. et al. 1992. The Vultures of Africa, Academic Press.
  4. ^ a b Wilber, S. & Jackson, J. 1983. Vulture Biology and Management, University of California
  5. ^ (Ward et al. 2008)
  6. ^ "AnimalDiversityWeb: Aegypius: Classification". Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  7. ^ a b c "Painkillers turned bird killers".  
  8. ^ Di Quinzio & McCarthy 2008.
  9. ^ Haviland, Charles (2008-07-31). "Nepal's 'restaurant' for vultures". BBC News. Retrieved 2011-05-28. 
  10. ^ A vulture restaurant in South Africa Archived December 27, 2008 at the Wayback Machine


A project named "Vulture Restaurant" is underway in Nepal in an effort to conserve the dwindling number of vultures. The "restaurant" is an open grassy area where naturally dying, sick, and old cows are fed to the vultures.[9][10]

Conservation efforts

Meloxicam (another NSAID) has been found to be harmless to vultures and should prove an acceptable alternative to diclofenac.[7] The Government of India banned diclofenac, but over a year later, in 2007, it continued to be sold and is still a problem in other parts of the world.[7]

The decline in vultures causes particular problems for certain communities, such as the Parsi, who practice sky burials, where the human dead are put on the top of a Tower of Silence and are eaten by vultures, leaving only dry bones.

The decline in vultures has led to hygiene problems in India as carcasses of dead animals now tend to rot, or be eaten by rats or wild dogs, rather than be consumed by vultures. Rabies among these other scavengers is a major health threat. India has one of the world's highest incidences of rabies.[8]

Diclofenac poisoning has caused the vulture population in India and Pakistan to decline by up to 99% in the past decade, and two or three species of vulture in South Asia are nearing extinction.[7] This has been caused by the practice of medicating working farm animals with diclofenac, which is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) with anti-inflammatory and pain killing actions. Diclofenac administration keeps animals that are ill or in pain working on the land for longer, but, if the ill animals die, their carcasses contain diclofenac. Farmers leave the dead animals out in the open, relying on vultures to tidy up. Diclofenac present in carcass flesh is eaten by vultures, which are sensitive to diclofenac, and they suffer kidney failure, visceral gout, and death as a result of diclofenac poisoning.

Threat due to diclofenac poisoning

Genus †Neogyps

Genus Trigonoceps

Genus Torgos

Genus Sarcogyps

Genus Necrosyrtes

Genus Gyps

Genus Aegypius


Genus Neophron

Genus Gypohierax

Genus Gypaetus




  • Species 1
    • Gypaetinae 1.1
    • Aegypiinae 1.2
  • Threat due to diclofenac poisoning 2
  • Conservation efforts 3
  • References 4
  • External links 5

Both Old World and New World vultures are scavenging birds, feeding mostly from carcasses of dead animals. Old World vultures find carcasses exclusively by sight. A particular characteristic of many vultures is a semi-bald head, sometimes without feathers or with simple down. Historically, it was thought that this was due to feeding habits, as feathers would be glued with decaying flesh and blood. However, more recent studies have shown that it is actually a thermoregulatory adaptation to avoid facial overheating; the presence or absence of complex feathers seems to matter little in feeding habits, as some vultures are quite raptorial.[3][4] [5]

[4] [3]

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