On 25th February 2008, KC Tsang circulated the following account:
“It is sad to see this very regal-looking bird end up this way in someone’s cage in Bintan, Indonesia. Could it be for the better? I found this out from two very reliable sources. One was an Indian couple I met at a party, and the other, a person who was able to supply these pictures. The Himalayan Vulture (Gyps himalayensis), also known as Himalayan Griffon, is now caged in a resort there.
“I was told that it was caught while feeding on a pig’s carcass in a pig farm. I am just wondering how is it that a pig’s carcass was left rotting, and for the vulture to come and feed on it.
“As it was so hungry, it was not too concerned with humans coming close enough to capture it. The time of capture of this beautiful bird, I was told, was sometime last year, I would hazard a guess, some time November, December?
“So if there is some one out there who has more information on this bird, please do let us have it.”
This vulture is resident of Central Asia and the Himalayas. So far, a number of birds have been recorded to migrate as far south as Singapore since 1989. In January 1992 a small flock of nine birds were photographed at roost by J Smith and Morten Strange at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve. As recent as 23rd January this year, we have sightings of three birds, two of which were photographed by Lee Tiah Khee flying over Bukit Timah.
Previously known to be sedentary and only migrating altitudinally, these vultures are more and more seen south of its normal range. This may be suggestive of an irruption or a range expansion of the species (Wang & Hails, 2007).
Wang, L.K. & Hails, C. J. (2007). An annotated checklist of birds of Singapore. Raffles Bull. Zool. Suppl. 15:1-179.