I am sharing the first documentation of Vulture Mating in the wild. Species: Gyps indicus.
I have been planning to specifically to Ramanagara to photograph vultures, but could not find time. I finally managed time from a short business trip to Bangalore. Fortunately, I had carried my photographic equipment. I had tied up with Apana and Mrudul to go to Ramnagara.
Light rain and cloudy morning greeted us on that eventful day. I was getting impatient as the taxi had not reached the hotel. I was wondering whether we will be able to see the vultures, as they normally come out and bask in the sunshine for a short time. Finally when we reached there around 6.30 am, we could see the vultures at a distance. A short hike later we were looking up at the vultures (Gyps indicus) perched on a rock face.
There were three vultures, two on one part of the rock face and another at a distance from the two. The vultures were at a distance of 45 meters.
The vultures were preening themselves, and at times were looking down, watching my movements. I photographed each movement to record their behaviour. I have mentioned the behaviour and time so that serious researchers can get detailed idea.
06:59:07 am: Vulture started preening
07:00:29 am stopped and raised its head.
07:00:30 am lowered its head to preen again
07:01:15 am started cleaning one of its primaries and finished at 07:05:56 am
07:06:43 am started cleaning its scapulars till 07:07:22 am when it takes a break
07:07:34 am starts cleaning its back feathers
07:08:45 am takes a break and raises its head
07:08:49 starts cleaning breast feathers
07:09:41 starts cleaning back feathers
07:11:12 am takes a break and raises its head then looks vacuously into space. The female had retreated into the background.
07:30:24 am The male vulture started looking down at us. Parts of the body of the female is visible to us from below.
07:30:29 am The male vulture loses interest and turns its head
07:32:16 am: The male vulture turns with its side profile visible to us i.e faces the north.
07:38:31 am: The female vulture moves towards the ledge and perches infront of the male. She is facing us. The male vulture still showing its flanks to us, has its head turned towards us ie. towards the east. In a fraction of a second, the female vulture starts lowering its head, retaining its position. She is still facing the east, ie. towards us and head lowered. The top portion of the head is visible, though the eyes are hidden behind the ledge.