Himalayan vulture (Gyps himalayensis)

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Dr Pary Sivaraman documented a Himalayan vulture in Tras Street, Singapore. It is also known as the Himalayan griffon and is a large carrion feeder native to the Himalayan region and the Tibetan Plateau.  They are known to migrate altitudinally in their home ground within their breeding range. There was a lot of excitement in January 2020 as other birds were sighted in many other locations in Singapore. Zhang Weifang saw 2-3 of them flying past her home in Tanjong Pagar around 7-8th January 2020.  Read her comments on this article in our Facebook page.

According to David Wells,

  1. one exhausted bird was captured in South Terengganu, West Malaysia on 24 June 1979
  2. four sighted in SW Singapore on December 1989
  3. nine photographed in Bukit Timah forest reserve on 12-13 January 1992 (J Smith, Morten Strange)
  4. one exhausted bird captured off NW Johor on 20 January 1995
  5. read this accountLINK,  and this account.

There were more reported sightings of these birds in subsequent years.

Vultures are known to be used in traditional medicines and there is suspect that some of these birds may have been released.  Perhaps, there are other unknown factors responsible for their presence in tropical Singapore? Unprecedented storms in native home, small numbers of the birds strayed away from home ground due to pressures for food / nesting sites, diseases affecting their sensory systems?

Will we see the birds again in December 2021 – January 2022?

Below is Pary’s account of his encounter with the vulture.

Himalayan vulture. Tras street. 090120
Completely unfazed by house crows. Maximum of 14 of them came to harass it.

Himalayan vulture in Singapore Central Business District.



  1. David Wells: The Birds of the Thai-Malay Peninsula Vol one Non-passerines © 1999
  2. Wikipedia September 2021 LINK

This post is a cooperative effort between Birds, Insects N Creatures Of Asia and BESG to bring the study of birds and their behaviour through photography and videography to a wider audience.

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