This week’s vulture deep dive is on the Long-Billed Vulture – also known as the Indian Vulture! This vulture stands about 30-40 inches tall, can weigh almost 14 pounds, and has a wingspan between 6 and 8 feet!1
They are found in shrublands, grasslands, and forests – although it prefers open habitats that aren’t densely populated with trees.1&2 This vulture was once thought to be the same species as the Slender-Billed Vulture, but research has shown that they are two separate species.3
When these vultures reproduce, the females lay only one egg, just like other vulture species we’ve spoken about in this series. They have white neck ruffs and pale feathers on the upper parts of their backs, while other feathers are darker in color.3
Long-Billed, or Indian, Vultures don’t migrate, but they do travel a lot in search of prey. They’ll fly hundreds of miles throughout southeastern Pakistan and India in order to find their meals.1
Like many other vultures, these birds have faced very sharp declines in their population numbers. This vulture is one of three species that have almost disappeared.4 They are currently considered Critically Endangered.1 A lot of this is due to the drug diclofenac – which affects many vulture species. The drug can be found in dead animals, and it causes kidney failure when the vultures ingest it.5
Have you checked out our new Discover It! labs by Dissect It?
We have new, STEM.org authenticated science labs for students aged 5+ – discover insects, butterflies, and even owl pellets! Browse our whole collection here!