Long billed/ Slender Billed Vulture

Slender Billed Vulture:

The Indian vulture (Gyps indicus) is an Old World vulture and is closely related to the griffon vulture, G. fulvus. It breeds mainly on hilly crags in central and peninsular India. The birds in the northern part of its range once considered a subspecies are now treated as a separate species, the slender-billed vulture - Gyps tenuirostris. These were lumped together under the name long-billed vulture.

The long-billed vulture is a typical vulture, with a bald head, very broad wings and short tail feathers. It is smaller and less heavily built than the Eurasian Griffon, usually weighing between 5.5 and 6.3 kg (12–13.9 lbs) and measuring 80–103 cm (31–41 in) long and 1.96 to 2.38 m (6.4 to 7.8 ft) across the wings.

The Indian vulture and the white-rumped vulture, G. bengalensis species have suffered a 99%–97% population decrease in Bangladesh, Pakistan and India. Between 2000-2007 annual decline rates of this species and the slender-billed vulture averaged over sixteen percent. The cause of this has been identified as poisoning caused by the veterinary drug diclofenac. Diclofenac is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) and when given to working animals it can reduce joint pain and so keep them working for longer. The drug is believed to be swallowed by vultures with the flesh of dead cattle who were given diclofenac in the last days of life.

Diclofenac causes kidney failure in several species of vultures. In March 2006 the Indian Government announced its support for a ban on the veterinary use of diclofenac. Another NSAID, meloxicam, has been found to be harmless to vultures and should prove to be an acceptable substitute for diclofenac. When meloxicam production is increased it is hoped that it will be as cheap as diclofenac. As of August 2011 the ban for veterinary use for approximately a year did not prevent diclofenac use across India.[5] Small numbers of birds have bred across peninsular India, in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu.

These birds are scavengers and have been in grave danger of extinction due to reasons mentioned above.

They have been kept in Critically Endangered species by IUCN.

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