A rare sight of the endangered Eurasian black vulture and a young Himalayan vulture (kumai) was captured on camera by Almaty-based photographer and blogger Dmitry Dotsenko @dots_foto. He shared the pictures on his personal social media pages, Tengri Travel reports.
According to the photographer, it is considered great luck to snap a red-listed species.
"What luck! I photographed rare birds - a black vulture and a young Himalayan vulture (kumai)," he notes in his publication.
The photographer encountered the rare birds near the city of Almaty, in the Ak-Kaiyn Gorge.
"In the early morning, a pair of birds were resting on a withered spruce. I managed to get as inconspicuously close as possible and took a few pictures. Soon the vultures saw me and took off. It turned out that there were three more black vultures sitting in a nearby tree. It was a little creepy when five of these giants flew over my head."
As the author himself specifies, the black vulture is a scavenger which feeds on large dead animals. Despite the name, the color of the adult is brown, not black. The bird has very keen eyesight and can tell if an animal is breathing or not from a considerable height.
Vultures are voracious; in a couple of hours, two or three birds gnaw a large ungulate carcass down to the bone.
In many ancient religions, vultures were sacred birds. Some deities were depicted with the head of a vulture. The bird was depicted on the breast ornament of Tutankhamen.
The birds are listed in the International Red Data Book as "near threatened". Kumai is presented in the Red Book of Kazakhstan as a "rare, poorly studied species".
With the installment of trail cameras inside natural parks in the Almaty region, the relentless efforts of amateur and professional photographers are not the only way of catching a glimpse of rarely seen animals. Earlier in March, 'camera traps' at Altyn-Emel Park captured a footage of the red-listed Turkistan lynx.