An Endangered species as per IUCN. Seen near the carcass of a cow. The bill is slender and long, and the tip of the upper mandible is hooked. Young birds are blackish or chocolate brown with black and white patches. In India, the decline of this bird has been rapid with a 35% decrease each year since 1999. The exact cause of the decline is not known, but has been linked with the use of the NSAID Diclofenac, which has been known to cause death in Gyps vultures.
Seen at Madhav National Park. The park officials informed me that these birds were quite common in villages around the Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh border.
When it joins other vulture species at a dead animal, it tends to stay on the periphery and waits until the larger species to leave. During the beginning of the breeding season, courting pairs soar high together and one or both may make steep spiralling or swooping dives. The birds are monogamous and pair bonds may be maintained for more than one breeding season and the same nest sites may be reused each year. A southern Indian temple was famed for a pair of birds that reputedly visited the temple for "centuries". These birds were ceremonially fed by the temple priests.