Egyptian Vulture

Egyptian Vulture


Profile Egyptian Vulture     Literature page Egyptian

[order] Falconiformes | [family] Accipitridae | [latin] Neophron percnopterus | [UK] Egyptian Vulture | [FR] Vautour percnoptère | [DE] Schmutzgeier | [ES] Alimoche Común | [IT] Capovaccaio | [NL] Aasgier

Aasgier determination

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Small vulture with uique plumage, resembling Ciconia ciconia, marked contrast, especially underparts, between overall white coloration and black flight feathers, bare yellow face, short, wedge shaped tail, legs greyish white, pink or pale yellow.
Juvenile all dark, particularly on unfrtpsrtd.
Race ginginianus sligtly smaller, with whole bill yellow.

This species of vulture is a very adaptable, inhabiting various habitat types, and slowly estblishing territories closer and closer to humans. These birds can often be seen feeding around garbage dumps. Among the natural habitats favored by the Egyptian vulture are plains, wetlands, uplands, and mountains. They are found ranging through southern Europe, Africa, the Middle East, and India.

Neophron percnopterus is a widespread but patchily distributed breeder in southern Europe, which accounts for less than half of its global breeding range. Its European breeding population is small (as few as 3,500 pairs), and declined substantially between 1970-1990. The species continued to decline in most countries-including its key populations in Spain and Turkey-during 1990-2000, and underwent a large decline overall. On top of earlier declines, this equates to a very large decline (>50%) over three generations. This species is endangered.
This vulture is widely distributed in southern Europe, from south-western Asia to India and Mongolia, and in the northern half of Africa. The birds of Spain, the Balearic islands and the Canary islands are partly sedentary, but all other populations winter in Africa, mainly in the Sahel region. About 1600-1770 breeding pairs inhabit the European Union. This population is declining since the beginning of the century, and is still declining in many regions. Direct persecution and poisoning are the most important threats to this species

Most well known for its evolved abiltity to eat eggs, the Egyptian vulture’s diet also includes both carrion and overripe vegetable matter. When feeding with crows and small raptors, this vulture is dominant. They must wait, however, for other larger vultures to finish their meal at a carcass, before entering the scene. Once the carcass is abandined, the birds fly in and pick the small bits of remaining meat from the bones with their delicate beaks.
Among other favored foods are decaying fruits and vegetables, often salvaged from human garbage dumps, and small insects, which the bird can catch alive. Without a sense of smell, the Egyptian vultures rely on their keen eyesight to find all food. Their vision is twice as refined as that of a human, allowing them to see an object 4 to 8 centimeters in diameter from as high as 1000 meters.

This species has a large range, with an estimated global Extent of Occurrence of 10,000,000 km². It has a large global population estimated to be 10,000-100,000 individuals (Ferguson-Lees et al. 2001). Global population trends have not been quantified; there is evidence of population fluctuations (Ferguson-Lees et al. 2001), but the species is not believed to approach the thresholds for the population decline criterion of the IUCN Red List (i.e. declining more than 30% in ten years or three generations). For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Least Concern. [conservation status from]

Males and females are alike in plumage, but females are usually slightly larger than their mate. Beautiful breeding displays are performed by the both sexes. They fly high into the air and dive back down, grasping claws on the way.
They prefer to nest on rocky ledges and in cliffs, preferring well-sheltered areas with many cavities, as the birds are colonial nesters. They lay 1 to 3 eggs, which they incubate for 42 days. They have the ability to lay a new egg if one is destroyed or taken before hatching. Young fledge at about 3 months of age. Juvenile plumage is brown, strikingly different from the pure white adults

Migratory in N of range; sedentary in Arabia, sub-Saharan Africa, Balearic Is and Canary Is; mainly sedentary in Indian Subcontinent, but locally migratory in some regions. Present in N breeding areas mainly Mar-Sept; winter sightings very rare, although species winters in small numbers in Coto Donana (SW Spain). Most migrants cross to Africa at Gibraltar, Suez and Bab al Mandab also important; nowadays, species winters only N equator; some juveniles remain in Africa throughout second year.


  1. Measurements
  2. spanwidth min.: 155 cm
  3. spanwidth max.: 179 cm
  4. size min.: 55 cm
  5. size max.: 65 cm
  6. Breeding
  7. incubation min.: 40 days
  8. incubation max.: 43 days
  9. fledging min.: 90 days
  10. fledging max.: 95 days
  11. broods 1
  12. eggs min.: 3
  13. eggs max.:
  14. Conservation Status
  15. Aasgier status Least Concern


  1. Necrosyrtes percnopterus
  2. Neophron percnopterus percnopterus
  3. Nepal to s India
  4. Neophron percnopterus majorensis
  5. Canary Is.
  6. Neophron percnopterus ginginianus
  7. s Europe, Middle East, Africa
  8. Neophron percnopterus
  9. AF, EU, OR w AF to India, s Spain to c Asia
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