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Aerobic Culturable Bacterial Microflora in Resident Gyps vulture species of India


  • Bombay Natural History Society, Hornbill House, Shaheed Bhagat Singh Road, Mumbai 400 001, Maharashtra, India
  • Shri Chhota Bhai Patel Research Centre, Vile Parle, Mumbai 400 056, Maharashtra, India
  • RSPB Centre of Conservation Science, Sandy, Bedfordshire, SG19 2DL, United Kingdom


Microflora of three Critically Endangered, resident Gyps species of Indian vultures was studied at the Vulture Conservation Breeding Centre, Pinjore, Panchkula district, Haryana. Cloacal and choanal swabs from 32 adult Gyps vultures (10 White-rumped Gyps bengalensis, 11 Long-billed G. indicus and 11 Slender-billed G. tenuirostris) held in captivity at the centre were collected in October 2011 and analyzed to determine the presence of aerobic culturable bacteria. A total of 23 bacterial species were isolated from the 64 cloacal and choanal samples collected and analyzed. The commonly encountered bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract were Escherichia coli, Enterococcus faecalis, and Enterococcus avium, while Staphylococcus epidermidis, S. saprophyticus, and Streptococcus pneumoniae were prevalent in the respiratory tract. The rest of the bacterial species were of low prevalence, and no specific pattern of colonization was seen. In spite of their exposure to a variety of microorganisms due to the scavenging nature of the vultures, only a few organisms were observed to colonize successfully and form the normal flora. The bacterial species richness and diversity among the three vulture species was similar.


Gastrointestinal, Respiratory, Aerobic Culturable Bacteria, Gyps Vultures, Conservation, Critically Endangered.

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