To find suitable accommodation for birders, close to birding sites have a look at the accommodation of our Members by clicking on the picture
The Quarterly magazine is free to members.
Click for an example in low resolution (for quicker download)
For best viewing use Adobe Acrobat Reader
Impact on Veterinary Painkiller (Diclofenac) on Black Vulture
The Cinereous Vulture, Aegypius monachus, formerly known as the Black Vulture, is classified as near-threatened at world level (Collar et al. 1994). A. monachus is widely distributed, with a continuous range extending from Europe and North Africa through the Middle East to Mongolia and China (Appak, 1992). It has since been extirpated in most of its European range. Its only remaining stronghold in Europe is in Spain. Populations exist in Greece (20 pairs), Bulgaria (1-2 pairs), Turkey (100-500 pairs), Mallorca (70 birds; 4-5 pairs), and France (4 pairs). The entire European population is estimated at between 1,100 and 1,500 pairs (Edward, 1998). There is little data regarding its status in the East but it is the largest of the Old World raptors. The Cinereous Vulture is popularly known in Tibet as “XiaGuo” or “Dog-headed Vulture” and in Northern China as “Mountain Eagle”, “Gucha” in Qinghai. Records of it being kept in parks date back over a long time, but give no data on breeding. It is also called “Hairless Vulture”, due to the naked appearance of the head and neck, covered with brown plumules. In the Tibet region the names “God Bird”, and in Mongolia “Grand Eagle” show that it is an object of religious veneration (Ye Xiao-Ti, 1991).
On characteristics, the species has a massive bill, short neck, extremely long and broad wings, and short tail. The wing span ranges from around 8 feet (2.44m) to 9 1/2 feet (2.90m) and weight varies from around 15lbs (6.80kg) to as high as 27lbs (12.25kg). Females are generally the larger sex. Sexes are almost similar in appearance, with no seasonal variations. Adult plumage is a uniform sooty-brown (Edward, 1998). Head skin and neck are rather dark and the head is covered with a thick downy feather which tends to give the rear of the crown a tufted appearance (Hiraldo, 1983). The Cinereous Vulture forages over many types of habitat including semi-desert and steppe to upland grasslands and bare mountains. It tends to breed below 3,500 feet (1,066m) in Europe and below 7,000 feet (2,133m) in the Asian portion of its range. The species prefers arboreal nest sites, but occasionally uses rock ledges or crags and feeds on carrion, mainly from medium to large carcasses. It will rarely take live prey, but will take injured animals sometimes. It is dominant over all other Vulture species at a carcass. Conservation Status listed in Appendix II “Threatened”, a species likely to move into the “Endangered” category in the near future. In the Indian sub-continental, for the first time, discussions were held about the conservation and population aspect for this species. Rajasthan is most important area of Vulture concern. This state is attached with Pakistan in the North and North south area with Gujarat (Ran of Kach). In India the largest dead animal dumping site is situated in the Bikaner District of Rajasthan. We are monitoring all Vultures’ species population at this feeding site. Over 3 years (2009-2012) in winter (November to February) population counting was undertaken to assess the importance of this particular site.
Age wise data of Cenereous Vultures in December*
* Extreem population in this month
During 2000-2002 showed 28 cases of Avian Gout, while 17 samples did not exhibit Avian Gout in Pakistan (Oaks et al., 2004). The major concern arising from this availability of dead specimens of A. monachus was not only the fact of discovery after the ban of Diclofenac, but the widespread availability of Diclofenac for sale for veterinary use after the June 2006 ban. In recent years the use of NSAID’s (veterinary painkiller- Diclofenac) for animal treatment has led to the poisoning of a number of Vultures and their breeding rate has declined.
Dr Dau Lal Bohra
Practical info for the birder
We have 21 guests and no members online