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Rare vulture from Nepal, missing for 10 months, found in Bihar

The white-rumped vulture was listed as critically endangered in 2000.


A winged visitor, a rare white-rumped vulture, from Nepal who went missing about ten months ago, has been found by officials at the Bihar bird banding station in Darbhanga after disappearing from radar despite the fact that tagged by radio.

The bird, belonging to a critically endangered species, was last seen in the Tanahun district of the Himalayan nation and was found in a weakened condition as it was starved for lack of food, according to officials.

The white-rumped vulture was listed as a critically endangered species in 2000 because its population rapidly declined, mainly due to feeding on carcasses of animals treated with the veterinary drug diclofenac, said to PTI Chief Wildlife Warden PK Gupta.

White-rumped vultures, usually found near human habitation, were very common in the Indian subcontinent, in addition to Myanmar, Thailand, Laos, Cambodia, and southern Vietnam. These birds feed mainly on the ground, but roost and nest in trees and cliffs, and spend much of their time soaring on wind currents, searching for carrion.

The bird is medium-sized and dark with blackish plumage, a white ruff, and a white patch of feathers on the lower back and upper tail, from which the name is derived. An adult white-rumped vulture measures 75 to 85 cm.

The bird, which disappeared, was used for research and surveillance of the vulture safety zone by Nepalese authorities, Mr Gupta said.

The bird turned out to be weak, he said, adding that he was immediately given food. The vulture is under observation at the bird banding and monitoring station in Bhagalpur, and will be released after a few days, he said.

“The vulture was also medically examined. The Nepalese authorities appreciated our efforts and also shared details of its movements,” Gupta said.

The Jatayu Conservation Breeding Center at Pinjore in Haryana, the Bombay Natural History Society and the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in England were alerted immediately after the bird was found, he said.

The radio collar attached to the bird stopped transmitting data in April, while it was in Abukhaireni in Nepal’s Tanahu. He was last seen on September 3 in the same area, Mr Gupta said.

Bihar is the fourth state in the country to have a bird banding (tagging) station. Rings are placed on the legs of birds to study their migration pattern, mortality and territoriality, he said.

Bhagalpur Bird Banding Station rescued a Mongolian Pallas fish eagle in October last year.

(Except for the title, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)

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