Egyptian vulture

  • The Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) among the globally threatened vulture species found in India.
  • The species is popularly known as safed giddh (white vulture) in Hindi.
  • According to BirdLife International, the present global breeding population of the Egyptian vulture is estimated to be 12,000 to 38,000 individuals.
  • Habitat: They build their nests on ledges, in caves, on cliffs , crags and rocky outcrops, but occasionally also in large trees, buildings (mainly in India), electricity pylons and exceptionally on the ground.
  • Food: The species rarely hunts for food — they mostly feed on dead carcasses of animals. They also eat carrion, tortoises, organic waste, insects, young vertebrates and eggs.
IUCN status:
  • Egyptian vultures are classified under the ‘Endangered’ (EN) red list of the International Union for Conversation of Nature (IUCN).
Threats to their population:
  • Lead poisoning (from ammunition used in hunting)
  • Direct and secondary poisoning
  • Electrocution (by power lines)
  • Collisions with wind turbines
  • Reduced food availability
  • Habitat change
Conservation Actions:
  • Globally various conservation actions like Monitoring programmes, supplementary feeding and campaigns against illegal use of poisons, including awareness-raising, are in place.
  • The veterinary drug diclofenac has been banned by the Indian government. Diclofenac leads to renal failure in vultures (when they eat dead animals) damaging their excretory system.
  • In many countries vultures have been fitted with satellite-tags to study juvenile dispersion, migratory movements and wintering areas.
  • Method of captive-breeding is carried in Italy.
BirdLife International:
  • It is the world’s largest nature conservation partnership.
  • It has 120 BirdLife Partners worldwide, one per country or territory and growing.
  • It strives to conserve birds, their habitat and global biodiversity.
  • It is working with people towards sustainability in the use of natural resources.
Section : Environment & Ecology