According to Bird Life International 2013 , the White Rumped
Vulture qualifies as critically endangered bird , because it has
suffered and extremely rapid population decline primarily as a
result of feeding on carcasses animals treated with the veterinary
Field Characters : Smallest of all Indian gyps vultures it is
mainly dark blackish brown with naked thick dark brown neck white
ruff at the base of the neck, dark silvery upper mandible and
conspicuous white rump visible flying or at the time of spreading
In flight a broad whitish band along underside of wings
characteristic, immature are more brownish than black and
without white rump or under wing band head and neck covered with
dirty white fluffy down.
Distribution: Before year 1990 the white backed vulture was
probably the most abundant culture of the world particularly in the
northern states of India, It was also reported from pakistan
Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan , Myanmar, Thailand Laos, Cambodia and
Southern Vietnam and from Southern China and Malaysia. It has
been recorded from south east Afghanistan and Iran where its status
is currently unknown according to Bird Life International 2001, it's
disappeared from most of Southeast Asia in the early 2003. White
Backed Vultures have become extremely rare mainly due to lack of
carcasses of large ungulates ,both wild and domestic ,which are
main food of vultures.
Before 1995 in Uttarakhand , Vultures nests were found every where with a
large home range It was living in flocks and breeds on tall trees in
loose scattered colonies ,however it is not unusual to find a
solitary nest , These nests are usually made by young bird , Vulture
nests were found inn towns and cities such as Dehradun , Haridwar,
Rishikesh, Kotdwar Etc.
In Early 1990s White Backed Vultures were also seen in the Himalayas
along the Ganges and at Chamoli and Uttarakashi , Recent regular
records shows that White Backed Vultres have been seen at Rajaji
National Park , where it has been occasionally cited with isolated &
active nests .
Vulture in Decline: The most catastrophic and rapid
decline of the White Backed Vulture has been seen in South Asia ,
Decline was first reported in newspapers in the mid of 1990 and
later confirmed scientifically at Kewla Deo National Park and all
over India .
Similar steep decline was seen in other countries too .
For many years virus related disease was considered as the likely
cause of the massive number of deaths of Vultures , But in 2003 anti
inflammatory drugs diclofenac identified as the culprit, this
drug is used as a pain killer for domestic livestock , if livestock
dies within 2 to 5 days after injection of diclofenac and vultures
feed on it carcass they die because of renal failure which causes
visceral gout .
The gyps species of Vultures have disappeared by 97 to 99 percent
during the last 15 years. and now the rate of decline is
nearly 50 percent per annum for the remaining populations.
Ecology: Vultures is a bird of open country side , avoiding
thick forest and wood and hilly areas as it feeds on large
carcasses, it has to find them visually so it source regularly
on thermals, covering hundreds of square kilometers in a single day
, find food either directly or by looking at other descending
Vultures and scavengers.
Since the collapse of the white backed vulture population from the
mid 1990, domestic animal carcasses are now mainly attended by dogs
, crows and cttale Egrets and because of that population of domestic
dogs has increased , triggering scare of rabies in humans.
Threats: The white backed Vulture is in real danger of
becoming extinct in another 5 to 10 years , if diclofenac is not
effectively and completely banned from veterinary use, to kill
vultures there are some other causes such as advertent poisoning for
killing of other animals , collision and electrocution , Injury from
kite threads particularly seen in Gujarat during annual kite
festival and chicks falling from nest , but these play a minor role