Uttarakhand's Jatoli village, en route the Pindari Glacier, hosts a Lammergeier or Himalayan Bearded Vulture, one of the most magnificent birds of the Himalaya.
Himalayan Bearded Vulture or Lammergeier
Species: Gyeaetus barbatus aureus (Hablizl, 1983)
The extra limit range includes mountains of SE Europe, islands of the Mediterranean, east to northern China and south to southern Arabia and the Himalaya. It is fairly common in Baluchistan and Sind and throughout the Himalaya from NWFP (Pakistan), Ladakh and Kashmir, and east to Nepal, Bhutan and NE Assam.
It is closely related to the golden eagle in most of its habits and ecological aspects. As an original president of the mountain, this giant predatory bird usually live in the biotopes near 4200m or more (Schaller, 1977), to a wide aptitude in altitudinal zonation to as low as 1200m as reports.
Then remarkable soaring flights records as high as between 7200-7500m in various parts of the Himalaya. The long wings enable the bird to remain airborne for a long time and with little effort. It is an expert scavenger and feeder on bone piece and carrion, including and human corposes. It often feeds on way side animal carcasses and refuse dumps in association with griflons, neophrones and ravens. Unlike its co-feeders it remains alcof until the coast is clear. Baldwin in 1876 records a young goral being carried off by a lammergeier and Stockly (1928) reports the attack on young ibex until it fell off a cliff, but Ali and Ripley (1963) say that they had never known to attack any living animals.
In Spain and Nepal, vultures are being given human support by setting up vulture restaurant. In remote and special places animal corpses are left out as food for vultures, a step is adopted for conservation of the Himalayan bearded vulture in Nepal where there status is threatened.
The breeding season ranges between December and March. The bird constructs a huge nest which looks like a pile of sticks along with ample quantities of miscellaneous rubbish such as sheep wool, fragments of hairy skins and large desiccated bones. These specialized nests are placed in an inaccessible ledge, often under overhanging rocks or in a natural access in a sheer cliff face (Salim Ali & Ripley, 1983). The courtship display is elaborate and both sexes take part in incubation and bringing up the young.
Resident and purely a northern mountain resident but rarely seen.
This is a purely a northern mountain species and fairly resembles the golden eagles that even export sportsman refer lammergeier as golden eagle. The distinctive characters are as follows:
Lammergeies are larger, handsome eagle-like like vulture, can take off with ease. It is less massive than the golden eagle.
The head and neck are fully feathered with cream or rusty-white. The upper arms are silvery-grey and black, with white streaks whereas the lower parts are rusty-white.
The wings are comperatively norms, longish and pointed for an efficient soiling flight. The logs are fully feathered. Tail is longish and wedge shaped. A Pendant tuft of black bristle-like feather under the chin is highly characteristics and clinches its identity, from where the name bearded vulture was given.
Source - Laxmi Raj Joshi at www.forestrynepal.org/notes/wildlife-biology/high-altitude-wildlife/birds/vulture
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