Birds of Morni: Red-headed Vulture

Red-headed Vulture/ Asian King Vulture (Sarcogyps calvus) is a medium-sized vulture about 3 feet in length with a wingspan of around 8 feet.The body is black with a pale grey band at the base of flight feathers.Found in deciduos forests, open arid country,foothills and river valleys upto an altitude of 3000 metres.The adult has a deep red/orange bald head.Its on the critically endangered list of International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and past decades have seen a sharp decline in the population attributed largely to the use of diclofenac as a veterinary medicine that has proved lethal to this scavenging bird.

Haryana forest department in collaboration with Bombay Natural History Society has established a Vulture Conservation Breeding Centre at Pinjore in 2001. This centre houses 127 Vultures (55 White-backed Vultures,55 Long-billed Vultures, 15 Slender-billed Vultures and 2 Himalayan Griffons). This is the largest collection of the three critically endangered species of vulture at one place any where in the world. A planned breeding programme has been initiated with the financial assistance from the Darwin Initiative for the Survival of Species fund of the Government of U.K., the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) and technical and financial collaboration of the Zoological Society of London.

Red-headed Vulture


Vulture in flight, Rasoon