Vultures represent 23 Species, 3 taxa

New World Vultures – family Cathartidae

  • Black vulture Coragyps atratus
  • Turkey vulture Cathartes aura
  • Lesser yellow-headed vulture Cathartes burrovianus
  • Greater yellow-headed vulture Cathartes melambrotus
  • California condor Gymnogyps californianus
  • Andean condor Vultur gryphus
  • King vulture Sarcoramphus papa

Old World Vultures – family Accipitridae

  • Cinereous vulture, Aegypius monachus
  • Griffon vulture, Gyps fulvus
  • White-rumped vulture, Gyps bengalensis
  • Rüppell’s vulture, Gyps rueppelli
  • Indian vulture, Gyps indicus
  • Slender-billed vulture, Gyps tenuirostris
  • Himalayan vulture, Gyps himalayensis
  • White-backed vulture, Gyps africanus
  • Cape vulture, Gyps coprotheres
  • Hooded vulture, Necrosyrtes monachus
  • Red-headed vulture, Sarcogyps calvus
  • Lappet-faced vulture, Torgos tracheliotos
  • White-headed vulture, Trigonoceps occipitalis
  • Bearded vulture (Lammergeier), Gypaetus barbatus
  • Egyptian vulture, Neophron percnopterus
  • Palm-nut vulture, Gypohierax angolensis

Threats to Vultures

There are many reasons that vultures are increasingly endangered; worldwide they are hunted for meat or traditional ‘medicine’, are poisoned purposefully because they alert authorities to poached kills, die when eating poison-laced bait meant for other predators. They’re poisoned when eating lead used by hunters and shot because they are blamed for livestock deaths (most of the time, unfairly). They hit electrical lines or wind turbines, get hit by cars (often when trying to clean up roadkill), and they starve to death in spreading industrialized, urbanized areas where livestock is increasingly kept in confinement and wild prey has disappeared.  

Vultures suffer habitat loss because of human activity, and habitat degradation by chemicals such as DDT and other pesticides, which can result in fatally thin eggshells or build up over time to weaken adult birds. In India, the catastrophic downfall of vultures is thought to be caused chiefly by a single, widely used veterinary drug, a cattle painkiller called diclofenac. The combination of all these factors, and many others, account for the drastic reduction in global vulture populations. They should be seen as a dramatic call-to-action; we need to conserve these birds before they are lost forever.