The above photograph of Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius Monachus) was shot at Kabini backwaters recently by an avid SOM reader. Usually solitary, the bird has been sighted at Kabini looking for its prey. According to Ragoo Rao, a Mysuru-based ethologist, Cinereous Vultures are mountain birds and are not commonly sighted in below Deccan Plateau areas. It is a very rare documentary sighting and the photographed bird is a “Juvenile Bird” as per the raptorial bird classification.
After Juvenile stage, this vulture will next grow to the ‘adolescent stage’ and reach ‘immature stage’ and later grow into adulthood. The various stages of plumage take place between 3 to 5 years. Cinereous Vulture is one of the two largest Old World vultures, attaining a maximum size of 14 kgs, over 10 ft across the wings (see file photo right). It is an Eurasian species and the western limits of its range are in Spain, inland Portugal and South France. They are found in Greece, Turkey and throughout the central Middle East. Their range continues through Afghanistan eastwards to northern India to its eastern limits in central Asia.
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