Egyptian Vulture in Tirunelveli

Submitted by Subbu Rajan. J
Subbu Rajan. J

Chosen as 'Picture of the Week'

The Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus), also known as the white scavenger vulture or pharaoh's chicken, used to be a common sight in the countryside in the drier parts of Tamil Nadu about three decades ago. Hopefully, this photograph heralds a return of this species from the brink.

I was photographing Indian Coursers near my hometown around Koonthankulam Bird Sanctuary (Tirunelveli District, Tamil Nadu). Thanks to the hot sun, there was poor bird activity and I decided to return home. Suddenly I saw a dark shape at a distance. It was feeding on the carcass of a cow. On closer observation I confirmed it to be a vulture. There were two of them and they finished their meal in about 10 minutes and then flew away. Later I identified them as immature Egyptian Vultures. As far as I know, the last vulture sighted in the vicinity was over 20 years ago. These are Juveniles, which might indicate a nesting area somewhere nearby.

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