Griffon vulture

(Gyps fulvus)


Griffon vulture IUCN LEAST CONCERN (LC)


Facts about this animal

G. f. fulvus:

Measurements: Total length from the tip of the bill to the tip of the tail is 99-104 cm and the wingspan may reach 240 cm. Weight is 6.2 to 8.5 kg in males and 6.5 to 8.3 in females. The head and neck are covered with creamy white down. Bare skin is bluish. It has a neck-ruff of loose creamy white feathers. Upperparts of the body (back and mantle) are yellow to sandy brown to dark greyish brown. Crop-patch of brown hair-like feathers is encircled by whtie down. The rump is darker with pale shaft streaks and pale tips. Underparts are pinkish to rufous brown, with paler shaft streaks. Primaries and secondaries of the wings are black to dark brown, browner on the secondaries. Under-wing coverts are pinkish to rufous brown, with paler shaft streaks. The tail is black to dark brown. Legs are grey. The iris of the eye is brown to golden and the bill is yellow-horn. Sexes are alike, but females are smaller than males.

G. f. fulvescens (Afghanistan, Pakistan and north-west India):
Paler and more rufous than G. f. fulvus. Crop-patch is more cinnamon and the ruff golden.

Did you know?
that the Griffon vulture is very rare or has disappeared in many countries, especially in Europe? The reason for this is, amongst others, the reduced availability of food sources due to changes in agricultural and farming methods. Carcasses of dead animals are seldom left for decay nowadays.


Class AVES
Name (Scientific) Gyps fulvus
Name (English) Griffon vulture
Name (French) Vautour fauve
Name (German) Gänsegeier
Name (Spanish) Buitre leonado
Local names Greek: Ornio
Italian: Grifone
Portuguese: Grifo-comum
Romansh: Tschess cularin
Serbian: Beloglavi sup
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Appendix II (as Accipitridae spp.)



Photo Copyright by
El Agora



Range From Southern Europe and Northrn/North-Eastern Africa through the Middle East to Central Asia and the Indian subcontinent: Africa: Algeria, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Senegal, Sudan, Tunisia Asia: Afghanistan, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Mongolia, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen Europe: Albania, Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, France, Georgia, Gibraltar, Greece, Italy, Macedonia former Yug. Rep., Montenegro, Portugal, Russian Federation, Serbia and Montenegro, Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine Vagrants may be encountered in some more countries.
Habitat Mountain ranges up to 2750 m above sea level.
Wild population Global numbers are not available. The European population is with less than 21,000 breeding pairs relatively small.
Zoo population 310 birds reported to ISIS (2007).

In the Zoo

Griffon vulture


How this animal should be transported

Untrained birds travel better in completely dark boxes, with a carpeted floor and roof, with an upwards sliding door at one end and no perch. As a general rule, trained birds are easier to manage in boxes with a carpeted perch at the right height to give plenty of head and tail room, and with a hinged side opening door.

For air transport, Container Note 20 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


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Photo Copyright by
Ph Oelwein

Why do zoos keep this animal

Griffon vultures are kept for various reasons: they are of educational interest, in Europe, they are bred under a regional coordinated breeding programme from which animals have been returned to the wild, and injured or intoxicated birds which can no more be returned to the wild may be kept for animal welfare reasons.