Gyps (from Greek γύψ gýps, "vulture") is a genus of Old World vultures in the bird family Accipitridaes. Created by Marie Jules César Savigny in 1809, it contains the following extant species:[1]

Griffon vulture Gyps fulvus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Accipitridae
Subfamily: Aegypiinae
Genus: Gyps
Savigny, 1809

See text.

Extant SpeciesEdit

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
  Gyps africanus White-backed vulture west and east Africa
  Gyps bengalensis White-rumped vulture Gangetic plains of India
  Gyps coprotheres Cape griffon Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, South Africa, and Zimbabwe
  Gyps fulvus Griffon vulture Europe and Asia
  Gyps himalayensis Himalayan vulture the Himalayas, the Pamirs, Kazakhstan and on the Tibetan Plateau, with northwestern limits of the breeding range being in Afghanistan and southern limits in Bhutan
  Gyps indicus Indian vulture, formerly long-billed vulture India, Pakistan and Nepal
  Gyps rueppelli Rüppell's vulture Sahel region of central Africa
  Gyps tenuirostris Slender-billed vulture India from the Gangetic plain north, west to Himachal Pradesh, south potentially as far as northern Odisha, and east through Assam

These are the typical vultures, with bald head, broad wings and mainly dark plumage. They are large scavenging birds, feeding mostly from carcasses of dead animals. Old World vultures find carcasses exclusively by sight. Representatives of this group are found throughout warmer parts of the Old World.

Compared to other vultures, Gyps species have quite feathered heads, with characteristic downy covers. Indeed, rather than being an adaptation for scavenging as once thought, it seems to be related to thermoregulation.

A prehistoric species is known only from fossil remains found in Middle to Late Pleistocene sites all over the central and eastern Mediterranean: Gyps melitensis. Recently, a fossil species Gyps bochenskii has been described from the late Pliocene in Bulgaria.[2]


  1. ^ "ITIS Report: Gyps". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved 17 November 2014.
  2. ^ Boev, Z. 2010. Gyps bochenskii sp. n. (Aves: Falconiformes) from the Late Pliocene of Varshets (NW Bulgaria). – Acta zoologica bulgarica, 62 (2): 211-242.

External linksEdit