On the 23rd January, Craig Brelsford, an American birder living in Shanghai (see http://www.shanghaibirding.com/), and his wife Elaine Du saw 2 black (cinereous) vultures in Shangai – more precisely in Chongming, the great alluvial island at the mouth of the Yangtze River. The species breeds in western China (see below), but black vultures are rare visitors to the southern Chinese coast, and so this is a nice record.
Very little is known about the vulture populations and trends in China overall – you can download below the latest review. China has 8 vulture species: Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus), White-rumped Vulture (Gyps bengalensis), Himalayan Griffon (Gyps himalayensis), Eurasian Griffon (Gyps fulvus), Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius monachus), Red-headed Vulture (Sarcogyps calvus), Slender-billed Vulture (Gyps tenuirostris) and Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus). Most of China´s vultures live in the western part of the country, centred on the northwest, the Tibetan plateau, the Pamir plateau, Inner Mongolia and the Himalaya.
Data is badly needed from these regions, in particular to determine the real populations of bearded vultures there – the population there may be significant in global terms, but without rigorous census one cannot speculate much.
Photo Craig Brelsford