As regular CFZ-watchers will know, for some time Corinna has been doing a column for Animals & Men and a regular segment on On The Track... particularly about out-of-place birds and rare vagrants. There seem to be more and more bird stories from all over the world hitting the news these days so, to make room for them all - and to give them all equal and worthy coverage - she has set up this new blog to cover all things feathery and Fortean.

Sunday, 12 March 2017

Himalayan vulture makes a rare visit to the Nilgiris

P Oppili | TNN | Feb 23, 2017, 08.21 AM IST

CHENNAI: Almost nine years after it was spotted, the rare Cinereous vulture made a reap pearence in the Moyar region of the Nilgiris on Monday . Commonly found in the snow covered regions of Central Asia and the Himalayas, the vulture's visit is an abberation, say conservationsists.

Vulture conservationist
S Bharathidasan located the bird while working in the Moyar region, and confirmed it with vulture biologist R Venkatachalam, who was with him.

Since these vultures are not migratory in nature, experts say the Cinereous vulture (Aegypius monachus) found in the Nilgiris is a juvenile bird. "Juvenile birds tend to wander out of their normal distribution range. This is a mountain bird and a winter migrant to north India when it gets too cold in central Asia." said
Vibu Prakash, deputy director of the Bombay Natural History Society Vulture Conservation Breeding Programme.

"Generally, the juvenile birds within the first two years of their flying, start long journeys. This one has come from high altitude Himalayan forests. They are capable of covering even 500km a day, as they just glide in the sky without straining their wings much," said Bharathidasan, adding that these vultures had a special type of haemoglobin in the blood which allows them to absorb more oxygen when flying at greater heights, he said.

One of the largest birds of prey in the world, the scavenger bird has been categorised under the near threatened status. They build their nests in the Himalayan forests, especial ly coniferous trees, which are found at an altitude of 10,000 feet and above. While sighting a bird from Himalayan region in the southern part of the country is exciting for Bharathidasan, Venkatachalam says the deviation to the south does happen occasionally . 

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