Ustad Mansur (active 1590-1624) was a court artist for the Mughal Emperor Jahangir (r. 1605 – 1627). He specialized in natural history art and was responsible for recording the emperor’s rare and exotic specimens, including an important image of the now-extinct Dodo that was recorded from life and in color. The two birds depicted here are the Red-headed Vulture (Sarcogyps calvus) and the Long-billed Vulture, aka Indian Vulture (Gyps indicus). Unfortunately, both species are currently listed as Critically Endangered on the IUCN Red List (1,2), part of a larger Indian vulture crisis that has seen major population collapses in several species, largely blamed on diclofenac poisoning (an anti-inflammatory that was widely used in veterinary medicine to treat livestock but has proven highly toxic to the scavenging vultures).
Animal Art of the Day for International Vulture Awareness Day #2: Mansur’s vultures
sharing is caring: