Telangana

Himalayan griffon vultures visit Telangana

The Himalayan griffon vulture perched atop the Papa Rapu cliff in Kumram Bheem Asifabad district.

The Himalayan griffon vulture perched atop the Papa Rapu cliff in Kumram Bheem Asifabad district.   | Photo Credit: BYARRANGEMENT

Experts believe it could be a part of a migratory pattern

“They circled over the Pala Rapu cliff for sometime before settling down atop a ledge near the top,” recalled an excited M. Ravikanth, field biologist, of the December 24 afternoon when he noted a couple of Himalayan griffon vultures (Gyps himalayensis) silently arrive at the famous vulture habitat in Penchikalpet forest range of Kumram Bheem Asifabad district.

“It was as if they were heading somewhere else but got attracted by the sight below and decided to find out more about the place,” he conjectured about the scavenger birds making a rare presence at the picturesque habitat of the Indian long billed vulture, which has the Peddavagu stream taking a curve, where it touches the lofty cliff made of sedimentary rock, before joining the Pranahita river flowing close by.

The two member monitoring team got a few pictures of the birds perched and also during flight. The identification of the scavenger, which has been given a status of Near Threatened species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, was made by Principal Scientist and Programme Head at the Jatayu Conservation Breeding Centre, at Pinjore in Haryana, Vibhu and Globally Threatened Species Officer in the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds Chris Bowden.

Rare instance

“Yes, it is a rare instance of the huge bird from the north being sighted in the southern parts,” observed Kagaznagar Divisional Forest Officer M. Raja Ramana Reddy of the happy augury. “This makes for a new distribution of the Old World vulture,” he added.

Forest officials opine that the arrival of the birds could be a phenomenon associated with winter migration to the south as the birds are known to be long distance fliers. The four sightings made so far of these large scavengers in southern India have a pattern.

Migratory pattern

While all the sightings were reported in 2013, the birds were one year juveniles. The sightings were reported from Ramdevarabetta Vulture Sanctuary and Hessarghatta, Grasslands, Bangalore, both in Karnataka, sighted on February 10, Gorasa in Kakinada of Andhra Pradesh on February 12 and Akkamala in Kerala on June 24.

According to experts, juveniles of Gyps himalayensis exhibit features which among others include dark brown body with heavily streaked buff color and dark brown under wing coverts with whitish central bar and pointed wing edges. The significance of the sighting, the experts opined that Pala Rapu can become a winter migration destination for the birds from the north.

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Printable version | Jul 7, 2020 1:20:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/telangana/himalayan-griffon-vulture-visits-pala-rapu-habitat/article25861357.ece

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