Gyps – Old World Vultures

The Gyps vultures are a genus of Old World vultures in the bird family Accipitridae, which also includes eagles, kites, buzzards and hawks.

Griffon Vulture

Ruppell's Vulture


Representatives of this group are found throughout warmer parts of the Old World. (The Old World includes Africa, Asia, and Europe and surrounding islands).


These are the typical vultures, with bald head, broad wings and mainly dark plumage.

The characteristic featherless head is because a feathered head would become spattered with blood and other fluids, and thus be difficult to keep clean.

Diet / Feeding

They are large scavenging birds, feeding mostly from carcasses of dead animals.

Old World vultures find carcasses exclusively by sight.


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.

Photo of author

Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

We love to hear from our readers. If you have any questions or if you want to get in touch with us, you can find our contact details on our About Us page.

Leave a Comment