Deep Dive: Red-headed Vultures

by OBDK on September 12, 2022

Red-headed vultures stand 29-33 inches tall, weigh 8-12 pounds, and have a wingspan of almost 90 inches. They are easily identified by their bright red heads, black wings and beak, and white markings on their thighs and breast.1
They are found in southern parts of Asia and the Indian subcontinent.1 They usually live in remote areas that are semi-arid, semi-desert, or deciduous forests. They can also be found over 2,000 meters up.2
These vultures tend to be solitary unless they’re paired up for mating. When mating season comes around, males and females will pull off incredible aerial displays together.2 The pair will also build a nest together, which they’ll add onto annually, and both will incubate the single egg the female will lay.1
Red-headed vultures eat carrion, and so they’ll mostly go after livestock, deer, and jackals. They also may go after injured birds or stranded fish.1 However, their choice of food has become a danger to them. 
A drug called Diclofenac – which we mentioned last week – is responsible for the population of red-headed vultures taking a sharp decline. It’s an NSAID drug that humans often give to livestock when they’re ill. It’s extremely poisonous to these birds. Due to this drug, red-headed vultures declined by 50% every two years since the latter half of the 1990s.3
In 2004, they went from least concern to near threatened. In 2007, they were labeled critically endangered.3
Bans have been put on this drug, but it hasn’t fully stopped the use of it and so remains a threat to these vultures. Efforts have been made to protect these vultures – one way has been putting out carcasses for vultures that are definitely clear of Diclofenac. This allows the vultures to safely eat food without being poisoned.1
*|FNAME|*, when was the last time you dissected an owl pellet?
Owl pellets are a wonderful tool to learn more about owl species and the prey they go after. They’re naturally found outdoors and so they’re a great way to learn about the environment without disturbing it! 
We have a variety of owl pellet packs to choose from – whether you’re buying a pack for a solo dissection or a group of students, we have you covered. 
Check out our Sherlock Bones pack, which comes with our Sherlock Bones booklet. It takes you through every step of the dissection and gives you extra information about owls and their pellets! 

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