Sexes alike. Black plumage with white on thighs and breast; naked red head, neck and feet; in overhead flight, the white breast, thigh patches and grey-white band along wings are distinctive; widely spread primaries. Young birds are darkish-brown with white abdomen and under tail. Mostly solitary but 2 to 4 may be seen at a carcass along with other vultures; usually does not mix with the rest.
Open country, village outskirts.
A scarce resident; all India, up to about 2,800m in the Himalaya.
A hoarse croak.