Himalayan Griffon

The Himalayan Griffon (Gyps himalayensis) is a large bird of prey, a raptor, and an accipiter. It is a vulture. It is also known as the Himalayan Griffon Vulture. It is related to the Eurasian Griffon (Gyps fulvus). 

The Himalayan Griffon has a long, spiky, pale-brown ruff around its neck with white streaks. Its head has pale blue skin, covered with soft, yellowish down feathers. Its underside and underwings are pale-brown or buff-coloured. Its legs are feathered, and its feet can be greenish-grey to white. Its upperbody is pale and unstreaked with contrasting dark-brown wings. It has a grey, hooked beak, and small, orange-brown eyes. 

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Andean Condor

The Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus) is a large South American bird in the Vulture family. It is a raptor and bird of prey.

The Andean Condor is black with a white ruff (collar) around its neck. Its face and neck are pinkish-red and nearly bald. Females have a bald blackish-red head and neck. It has a flattened head. Males have a dark carbuncle or comb on their head. It has white feathers on its wings. Its pale cream beak is strong with a slightly downward-curved hook, and its eyes are orange-brown. It has long sharp talons on its feet to grip its prey.

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CREATURE FEATURE: Rüppell’s Griffon Vulture

The Rüppell’s Griffon Vulture (Gyps rueppelli) is a large critically endangered vulture from Africa. They are related to the White-Backed Vulture.

The Rüppell’s Griffon Vulture has mottled brown or black feathers with a whitish-brown underbelly and thin, cream-white fluff covering its head and neck. The base of its neck has a white collar. Its eyes are dark or amber, and its crop patch is deep brown. Its head does not have feathers. It has sharp talons and a powerful dark black.

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Blowfly and Animal Decomposition

Animal Decomposition is the process of an animal’s body degrading (breaking down) into organic matter after death.

There are two types of decomposition: abiotic and biotic.

Abiotic decomposition is degradation by chemicalal or physical processes.

Biotic decomposition is degradation by living organisms (insects, such as ants, beetles and flies, or by bacteria, or fungi).

The Blowfly (Chrysomya) is a prime decomposer of animal bodies.

Scavengers (hyena, vultures, wolves, foxes, rats etc.) also have a role in animal decomposition.

There are 5 stages to decomposition of small to large animals: (1) fresh, (2) bloat (accumulation of gases in the body), (3) active decay, (4) advanced decay, and (5) dry remains.

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CREATURE FEATURE: Cinereous Vulture

The Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius monachus) is a large bird, called a raptor or accipiter. It is also called the Eurasian Black Vulture because it is native to Eurasia. It should not be confused with the American Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus), which is a different species. The Cinereous Vulture is related to the Lappet-Faced Vulture.

The Cinereous Vulture is brown with some black feathers and white patches. It has a bald, blue-grey head and a ruff of white feathers around its neck. There is a white patch above its brown eyes. It has a blue-grey beak with a purplish cere. Its beak is the largest beak of all raptors. It has pale blue-grey legs.

It is almost 1.2 metres long (4 feet), with a wingspan of 3.1 metres (10 feet). It is one of the world’s heaviest flying birds, but it can fly at a very high altitude.

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