Slender-billed Vulture

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Common Name: Slender-billed Vulture
Scientific Name: Gyps tenuirostris

Size: 31-37 inches (80-95 cm); Wingspan: 77-92 inches (196-238 cm)

Habitat: Asia; found in India from the Gangetic plain north, west to Himachal Pradesh, south potentially as far as northern Odisha, and east through Assam. It is also found in north and central Bangladesh, southern Nepal, Burma and Cambodia. Movements are poorly known, and the degree of connectivity of apparently separate populations is not known.

It inhabits dry open country and forested areas usually away from human habitation. In South-East Asia it was found in open and partly wooded country, generally in the lowlands.

Status: Critically Endangered. Global Population: 1000-2499 mature individuals. The population of this species and the Indian Vulture declined by 97% overall and in India annual decline rates for both species averaged over 16% between 2000-2007. Wild populations remain from northern and eastern India through southern Nepal and Bangladesh, with a small population in Burma. The only breeding colony in Southeast Asia is in the Steung Treng province of Cambodia. This colony is thought to number about 50–100 birds. The survival of the vultures in Cambodia may have been partly because diclofenac, which is poisonous to vultures, is not available there. The Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB) has placed the approximate number of slender-billed vultures living beyond confines at about 1,000 in 2009 and predictions estimate total extinction within the next decade amongst the wild population.

Diet: Wide variety of carrion, scavenging at rubbish dumps and slaughterhouses, and at carcasses dumped in the fields and along rivers.

Nesting: This vulture is mostly grey with a pale rump and grey under tail coverts. The thighs have whitish down. The neck is long, bare, skinny and black. The black head is angular and narrow with the dark bill appearing narrow midway. The ear opening is prominent and exposed.

It has only been recorded nesting in trees, usually large ones, usually at a height of 7-25 m, sometimes near villages but usually more remote. It is a solitary nester. While feeding, considerable mixed species aggregations can form, and regular communal roost sites are used. It is social and usually found in conspecific flocks, interacting with other vultures at carcasses.

Cool Facts: For some time, it was categorized with its relative, the Indian Vulture, under the name of "Long-billed Vulture". However, these two species have non-overlapping distribution ranges and can be immediately told apart by trained observers, even at considerable distances. The Indian Vulture is found only to the south of the Ganges and breeds on cliffs while the Slender-billed Vulture is found along the Sub-Himalayan regions and into Southeast Asia and nests in trees.

Found in Songbird Remix Vultures2

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