OLD WORLD VULTURES are vultures that are found in the
Old World ,
i.e. the continents of Europe,
Asia and Africa, and which belong to
Accipitridae , which also includes eagles , buzzards ,
kites , and hawks .
Old World vultures are not closely related to the superficially
similar New World vultures and condors , and do not share that group's
good sense of smell. The similarities between the two groups of
vultures are due to convergent evolution rather than a close
relationship. They were widespread in both the
Old World and North
America , during the
Old World vultures are probably a
polyphyletic group within Accipitridae, with palm-nut vulture ,
Egyptian vulture and
Bearded vulture separate from the others. Most
authorities refer to two major clades: GYPAETINAE and AEGYPIINAE
Trigonoceps and possibly
Necrosyrtes ). The former seem to be nested with
Perninae hawks, while
the latter are closely related and possibly even synonymous with
Aquilinae . Within Aegypiinae, Torgos, Aegypius,
Trigonoceps are particularly closely related and possibly within the
Old World and New World vultures are scavenging birds , feeding
mostly from carcasses of dead animals .
Old World vultures find
carcasses exclusively by sight. A particular characteristic of many
vultures is a semi-bald head , sometimes without feathers or with
simple down. Historically, it was thought that this was due to feeding
habits, as feathers would be glued with decaying flesh and blood.
However, more recent studies have shown that it is actually a
thermoregulatory adaptation to avoid facial overheating; the presence
or absence of complex feathers seems to matter little in feeding
habits, as some vultures are quite raptorial.
* 1 Species
* 2 Threats
* 2.2 Poisoning
* 2.3 Traditional medicine
* 3 Conservation efforts
* 4 References
* 5 External links
COMMON AND BINOMIAL NAMES
High mountains in southern
Europe , the
Africa , the
Indian subcontinent, and
Forest and savannah across sub-Saharan
Europe and northern
Southwestern and central
Turkey , the central Middle East
India , central and east
Mountains in southern
Europe , north
Northern and central
Sahel region of central
Central and peninsular
Sub-Himalayan regions of
India and into Southeast
Savannahs of west and east
Indian Subcontinent , with small disjunct populations in
Africa , the
Negev deserts and north-west
† = EXTINCT
Diclofenac poisoning has caused the vulture population in
Pakistan to decline by up to 99% , and two or three species of vulture
Asia are nearing extinction. This has been caused by the
practice of medicating working farm animals with diclofenac, which is
a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) with anti-inflammatory
and pain-killing actions.
Diclofenac administration keeps animals that
are ill or in pain working on the land for longer, but, if the ill
animals die, their carcasses contain diclofenac. Farmers leave the
dead animals out in the open, relying on vultures to tidy up.
Diclofenac present in carcass flesh is eaten by vultures, which are
sensitive to diclofenac, and they suffer kidney failure, visceral gout
, and death as a result of diclofenac poisoning .
The decline in vultures has led to hygiene problems in
carcasses of dead animals now tend to rot, or be eaten by rats or wild
dogs , rather than be consumed by vultures.
Rabies among these other
scavengers is a major health threat.
India has one of the world's
highest incidences of rabies.
The decline in vultures causes particular problems for certain
communities, such as the Parsi , who practice sky burials , where the
human corpses are put on the top of a
Tower of Silence
Tower of Silence and are eaten
by vultures, leaving only dry bones.
Meloxicam (another NSAID) has been found to be harmless to vultures
and should prove an acceptable alternative to diclofenac. The
India banned diclofenac, but over a year later, in 2007,
it continued to be sold and remains a problem in other parts of the
Poisoning accounts for a majority of vulture deaths in Africa. Ivory
poachers poison carcasses with the intent of killing vultures, since
vultures circling over a carcass alert authorities to a kill. Vultures
are also unintentionally poisoned when they consume carcasses of
predators that have been poisoned by livestock farmers.
Africa are killed for use in traditional medicine.
Vulture heads are believed to provide clairvoyance .
A project named "
Vulture Restaurant" is underway in
Nepal in an
effort to conserve the dwindling number of vultures. The "restaurant"
is an open grassy area where naturally dying, sick, and old cows are
fed to the vultures.
* ^ Lerner & Mindell 2005 .
* ^ (Griffiths et al. 2007, Lerner and Mindell 2005)
* ^ A B Mundy, P. et al. 1992. The Vultures of Africa, Academic
* ^ A B Wilber, S. & Jackson, J. 1983.
Vulture Biology and
Management, University of California
* ^ (Ward et al. 2008)
* ^ "AnimalDiversityWeb: Aegypius: Classification".
AnimalDiversity.ummz.umich.edu. Retrieved 2011-05-28.
* ^ A B C "Painkillers turned bird killers".
New Scientist . No.
2577. 2006-11-14. p. 7.
* ^ Di Quinzio & McCarthy 2008 .
* ^ A B Elizabeth Royte (2015-12-10). "Vultures Are Revolting.
Here\'s Why We Need to Save Them". National Geographic Magazine.
* ^ A B Madeline Bodin (2014-08-11). "Africa\'s Vultures Threatened
By An Assault on All Fronts". Yale Environment 360. Retrieved
* ^ Haviland, Charles (2008-07-31). "Nepal\'s \'restaurant\' for
vultures". BBC News. Retrieved 2011-05-28.
* ^ A vulture restaurant in South
Africa Archived December 27,
2008, at the
Wayback Machine .
* Di Quinzio, M.; McCarthy, A. (2008-02-26). "
Rabies risk among
travellers". CMAJ . 178 (5): 567. doi :10.1503/cmaj.071443 .
* Ferguson-Lees, James ; Christie, David A. (2001). Raptors of the
World. Illustrated by Kim Franklin, David Mead, and Philip Burton.
Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 978-0-618-12762-7 . Retrieved 2011-05-26.
* Grimmett, Richard; Inskipp, Carol; Inskipp, Tim (1999). Birds of
India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, and the
Maldives. Illustrated by Clive Byers et al. Princeton University
Press. ISBN 978-0-691-04910-6 .
OCLC 43578307 .
* Lerner, Heather R. L.; Mindell, David P. (November 2005).
"Phylogeny of eagles,
Old World vultures, and other
on nuclear and mitochondrial DNA" (PDF). Molecular Phylogenetics and
Evolution. 37 (2): 327–346. doi :10.1016/j.ympev.2005.04.010 . ISSN
1055-7903 . PMID 15925523 . Retrieved 31 May 2011.
* Sinclair, Ian; Hockey, Phil; Tarboton, Warwick (2002). SASOL Birds
of Southern Africa. Illustrated by Peter Hayman & Norman Arlott (3rd
ed.). Cape Town: Struik. ISBN 978-1-86872-721-6 .
Bird groups hopeful on vultures". London: