See text.

Gyps is a genus of Old World vultures in the bird family Accipitridae. Created by Marie Jules César Savigny in 1809, it contains the following extant species:[1]

Extant Species

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
White-backed Vulture Chobe.jpg Gyps africanus White-backed vulture west and east Africa
Gyps bengalensis PLoS.png Gyps bengalensis White-rumped vulture Gangetic plains of India
Cape Vulture, Gyps coprotheres at Kruger National Park (13911811003).jpg Gyps coprotheres Cape griffon Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe
PikiWiki Israel 38863 Wildlife and Plants of Israel.JPG Gyps fulvus Griffon vulture Europe and Asia
Himalayan Griffon - Bhutan S4E0109 (15464421711).jpg Gyps himalayensis Himalayan vulture the Himalayas, the Pamirs, Kazakhstan and on the Tibetan Plateau (technically in China), with northwestern limits of the breeding range being in Afghanistan and southern limits in Bhutan
Indian Vulture- Gyps indicus.jpg Gyps indicus Indian vulture, - formerly long-billed vulture India, Pakistan and Nepal
Rüppell's Vulture (Gyps rueppelli) (21160089681).jpg Gyps rueppelli Rüppell's vulture Sahel region of central Africa
Slender-billed Vulture, Mishmi Hills, India (cropped).jpg Gyps tenuirostris Slender-billed vulture India from the Gangetic plain north, west to Himachal Pradesh, south potentially as far as northern Odisha, and east through Assam

These are the typical vultures, with bald head, broad wings and mainly dark plumage. They are large scavenging birds, feeding mostly from carcasses of dead animals. Old World vultures find carcasses exclusively by sight. Representatives of this group are found throughout warmer parts of the Old World.

Compared to other vultures, Gyps species have quite feathered heads, with characteristic downy covers. Indeed, rather than being an adaptation for scavenging as once thought, it seems to be related to thermoregulation.

A prehistoric species is known only from fossil remains found in Middle to Late Pleistocene sites all over the central and eastern Mediterranean: Gyps melitensis. Recently, a fossil species Gyps bochenskii has been described from the late Pliocene in Bulgaria.[2]


  1. ^ "ITIS Report: Gyps". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 17 November 2014. 
  2. ^ Boev, Z. 2010. Gyps bochenskii sp. n. (Aves: Falconiformes) from the Late Pliocene of Varshets (NW Bulgaria). – Acta zoologica bulgarica, 62 (2): 211-242.

External links