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25 August, 2016

Raptors of Nepal is now moving to new project: Study on Bearded Vulture Movement Ecology in the Himalaya

Its a long time without updates.

Now I am pleased to inform you about the current project on Bearded Vulture. I am doing a GPS telemetry project on Bearded Vulture in the Himalaya of Nepal. To the best of my knowledge, it is the only project of its kind in Asia to study movement of this charismatic mega avian fauna. In last May we trapped four Bearded Vultures and fitted with WT-200 GPS telemetry, those devices were developed by Korea Institute of Environment Ecology. By this time we already got some preliminary information about the home range area and dispersal timing of the fledgling. Summary of the current result is given below:


We studied the home range size of Bearded Vulture Gypaetus barbatus in the Himalaya of central Nepal using GPS telemetry. In May 2016, four birds including one pair of breeding adults and their juvenile and one sub-adult (second calendar year) were trapped and equipped with 72 grams GPS telemetry units (WT -200) developed by Korea Institute of Environment Ecology. Data from the units fitted to three different age class were used to analyze the home range. We used Minimum Convex Polygon (MCP) 100% fixed level in Quantum Geographical Information System (QGIS) to analyze the home range size of each bird. Three birds of a single family had combine home range size of 220 km2. Similarly first adult (possibly male) had a home range size of 174.06 km2 and that of second adult was 162.37 km2, slightly smaller than adult male. The fledgling was found to cover only 32.4% (71.23 km2) of entire family range within the period of 68 days from the date of first flight. However rapid increase on the home range size observed after that period and it increased as much as 105.77 km2 on 88 days and 526.63 km2 on 90 days. Therefore we found complete dispersal from the natal area on 90 days of first flight. Sub-adult bird had a largest home range size of 822.38 km2 among all age class studied. Therefore, from the initial result of this study we conclude sub-adult Bearded Vultures have a larger home range size than that of breeding adults.