Distribution: The species was present in large numbers, in Southern and Southeastern Asia until 1990s and declined rapidly in numbers between 1992 and 2007. Scattered population now occurs in India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia and southern Vietnam.
Size: 75-85 cm
Wing span: 200-220 cm
Weight: 3.5 to 7.5 Kg
Natural Habitat: Found mostly in plains and less frequently in hilly regions. Can also be seen in villages and cities near to cultivation.
Identifying Features: Medium sized Vulture with adults having blackish plumage. White neck ruff, rump and under wing coverts. Bill is silver, short and heavy. Juveniles are dark brown with white shaft-streaks. Sub-adults are dull brown.
Breeding season: October to March.
Nesting: Nests are built on trees at the height of about 13 to 20 m with the help of sticks and branches and lined by leaves. Both sexes are involved in nest making.
Eggs: Single egg is laid. Egg is white with a tinge of bluish green.
Incubation: 45 to 52 days
Fledging: 85 to 95 days
Food: The diet of the Indian White-backed Vulture is carrion; either fresh or putrid. Its behavior around carcass is on par with the other large gregarious vultures, with much pulling, robbing and squabbling.
Current Status: The species has qualified as “Critically endangered” as per IUCN because of rapid population decline. Currently the government bodies have taken necessary steps to reduce the usage of drug “Diclofenac” which is believed to have affected the population of vulture. Different bird protection organizations have also taken steps such as local awareness, providing compensation to farmers whose trees (especially coconut trees) have been affected by vultures nest, Creating feeding grounds for vulture etc.
Threats: The major threat is because of lethal level of the drug “Diclofenac” found in ungulate carcasses and as vultures travel long distances to reach carrion, a considerable proportion of the population has been affected. The full extent of the decline of Gyps vulture species is already felt by humans, as rotting carcasses remain untouched, posing a health hazard, as well as encouraging feral dog populations which carry rabies.