Himalayan Griffon Gyps himalayensis


Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

IUCN Red list criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2021 Near Threatened A3e
2016 Near Threatened A3e
2014 Near Threatened A3e
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status full migrant Forest dependency Does not normally occur in forest
Land mass type Average mass -

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence breeding/resident (km2) 6,220,000
Extent of Occurrence non-breeding (km2) 13,600,000
Number of locations -
Severely Fragmented -
Population and trend
Value Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
No. of mature individuals 66000-334000 poor suspected 2001
Population trend Decreasing suspected -
Decline (3 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (5 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/1 generation past) - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation future) 25-29 - - -
Decline (10 years/3 generation past and future) - - -
Number of subpopulations - - -
Percentage in largest subpopulation - - -
Generation length (yrs) 14.28 - - -

Population justification: Ferguson-Lees and Christie (2001) suggest that a six-figure population would be realistic. The population in the Tibetan Plateau, which consists of c.80% of the breeding population, has been estimated at c.230,000 individuals, equating to c.153,000 mature individuals (Lu et al. 2009). Assuming a similar density across the rest of the species's range, a very preliminary estimate of global population is therefore c.290,000 (Lu et al. 2009). It is placed in the band for 100,000-499,999 individuals, assumed to equate to c.66,000-334,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification: Population trends of this species have not been well studied across most of its range, however it is suspected to undergo a decline of 25-29% over the next three generations, owing to the expected impacts of diclofenac use in livestock. Veterinary use of diclofenac is less common within the breeding range of G. himalayensis so adults are unlikely to be exposed, but juveniles may be when they migrate to lowland areas of India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Pakistan (Das et al. 2010; Bothat et al. 2017).

Surveys in Upper Mustang, Nepal, during 2002-2005 revealed a c.70% population decline (Acharya et al. 2009), but following the ban on veterinary use of diclofenac in 2006, the population in this area showed a partial recovery (Paudel et al. 2015). However, vultures continue to die from diclofenac poisoning (Nambirajan et al. 2018), and other threats such as food shortages may also be causing declines in some areas. Siddique & Khan (2016) recorded a 37% reduction in populations at nesting sites and a 21% reduction in individuals counted during transects in Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Pakistan, during 2005-2010. Although this decline may have been due partly to a large earthquake that occurred in the survey area in 2005, a steep decline in the number of livestock and increased shrub cover reducing visibility of carcasses from the air was also thought to have played a role (Siddique & Khan 2016). Recent surveys in Nepal and Pakistan found that 76% and 60% of respondents respectively agreed with the statement that vulture populations were decreasing in their area (Joshi et al. 2016). The species's population appears to be stable in Dehradun District, Uttarakhand, India (A. P. Singh in litt. 2014), and in the Tibetan Plateau (Lu et al. 2009).

Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Occurrence status Presence Resident Breeding Non-breeding Passage
Afghanistan N Extant Yes
Bangladesh N Extant Yes
Bhutan N Extant Yes Yes
Cambodia N Extant Yes
China (mainland) N Extant Yes
India N Extant Yes Yes
Kazakhstan N Extant Yes
Kyrgyzstan N Extant Yes
Malaysia U Extant
Mongolia N Extant Yes Yes
Myanmar N Extant Yes
Nepal N Extant Yes
Pakistan N Extant Yes Yes
Singapore U Extant
Tajikistan N Extant Yes
Thailand N Extant Yes
United Arab Emirates V Extant
Uzbekistan N Extant Yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name
Afghanistan Big Pamir
Afghanistan Small Pamir
Afghanistan Salang Kotal
Kazakhstan Big Almaty Gorge
Kazakhstan Assy Plateau
Uzbekistan Angren Plateau
Uzbekistan Amankutan (Takhtakaracha Pass)
Tajikistan Bulunkul and Yashilkul lakes and mountains
Tajikistan Zorkul Nature Reserve (Lake Victoria)
Tajikistan Karakul lake and mountains
Tajikistan Rangkul valley (Rangkul & Shorkul Lakes)
Tajikistan Dzhavshangoz
Tajikistan Kondara Gorge
Tajikistan Drumkul Lake
Kazakhstan Almaty State Nature Reserve
Tajikistan Kulikalon Lakes
Uzbekistan Pulatkhan Gorge
Uzbekistan Oygaing River Valley
Kazakhstan Eastern Kazakhstan uplands
Uzbekistan Gissar State Nature Reserve
Kyrgyzstan Son-Kul Lake
Kyrgyzstan Lake Chatyr-Kul
Kyrgyzstan Gorge Tash-Rabat
Kyrgyzstan Eastern Alai
Kyrgyzstan Western Alai, Kok-Suu river
Kazakhstan Aksu-Dzhabagly State Nature Reserve
Nepal Annapurna Conservation Area
Nepal Dhorpatan Hunting Reserve
Nepal Kanchenjungha Conservation Area
Nepal Khaptad National Park
Nepal Langtang National Park
Nepal Makalu Barun National Park
Nepal Rara National Park
Nepal Sagarmatha National Park
Nepal Tamur valley and watershed
Nepal Shey-Phoksundo National Park
Kazakhstan Upper Charyn
Kazakhstan Altyn-Emel National Park
Kazakhstan Sorbulak Lake System

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Grassland Temperate suitable resident
Rocky areas (eg. inland cliffs, mountain peaks) suitable resident
Shrubland Temperate suitable resident
Altitude 1200 - 5500 m Occasional altitudinal limits 175 - 6000 m

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Species mortality
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Unintentional effects (species is not the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Species mortality
Energy production & mining Renewable energy Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Unknown Unknown
Species mortality
Natural system modifications Other ecosystem modifications Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Other options Other threat Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Rapid Declines Medium Impact: 6
Species mortality
Pollution Agricultural & forestry effluents - Herbicides and pesticides Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Species mortality
Transportation & service corridors Utility & service lines Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Majority (50-90%) Unknown Unknown
Species mortality

Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Handicrafts, jewellery, etc. - - Non-trivial Recent
Medicine - human & veterinary - - Non-trivial Recent
Pets/display animals, horticulture - - International Non-trivial Recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Gyps himalayensis. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/05/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/05/2022.