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A photo of a Himalayan Vulture (Gyps himalayensis)
Himalayan Vulture

Himalayan Vulture

Gyps himalayensis

The Himalayan vulture (Gyps himalayensis) or Himalayan griffon vulture is an Old World vulture native to the Himalayas and the adjoining Tibetan Plateau. It is one of the two largest Old World vultures and true raptors. It is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List. It is not to be confused with the Eurasian griffon vulture (Gyps fulvus), which is a similar and sympatric species. The Himalayan vulture has dark brown greater covert feathers, tail and wing quills, but a pale buff uniform upperside and paler tipped inner secondaries; its legs are covered with buffy feathers and vary in colour from greenish grey to pale brown. The underside and under-wing coverts are pale brown or buff, almost white in some individuals. The whitish down on the head of immatures changes to yellowish in adults who have a long and pale brown ruff with white streaks and long and spiky ruff feathers. The pale blue facial skin is lighter than the dark blue in Gyps fulvus with this species having a yellowish bill. In flight the long fingers are splayed and there is a pale patagial stripe on the underwing. The wing and tail feathers are dark and contrast with the pale coverts and body, one of the best methods to distinguish this species from the slightly smaller griffon vulture. The feathers on the body have pale shaft streaks.
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