Himalayan Griffon Vulture - Gyps himalayensis


This is the largest member of the Gyps family. It can be found at altitudes of up to 5,000 metres in Nepal. Often mentioned in the history of the Tibetan culture, the vulture was in charge of disposing of the bodies of dead people at very cold times of the year. The frozen earth meant the dead could not be burnt so the bodies were given to the vultures which devoured them. This practice still exists today.


CLASS : Aves
ORDER : Accipitriformes
FAMILY : Accipitridae
WINGSPAN : 2.6 – 3.1 m
WEIGHT : 8 - 12 kg
INCUBATION : 50 days
DIET : it is necrophageous and feeds on dead animals and carcasses.
NATURAL HABITAT : it lives in the mountains at altitudes of between 1,500 and 4,000 metres. In the Himalayas, this species is generally found below 900 metres, whilst in Nepal, it can reach up to 5,000 metres.
RANGE : Asia

Conservation status

Conservation status info

Rocher des Aigles

NT : Near Threatened

The Himalayan Griffon Vulture population declined very rapidly in the late 1990s due to Diclofenac, a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug, being administered to livestock. The dead bodies were then eaten by the vultures, thereby causing them to die through kidney failure. This medication has also caused the deaths of other Gyps species. Among the potential threats are degradation of habitat and lack of suitable nesting sites, as well as the ingestion of herbicides, insecticides and fungicides. Conservation measures have been taken.