Egyptian Vulture

From Academic Kids

Egyptian Vulture
Missing image

Scientific classification
Species:N. percnopterus
Binomial name
Neophron percnopterus
(Linnaeus, 1758)

The Egyptian Vulture, Neophron percnopterus, is a small Old World vulture, the only member of the genus Neophron (Savigny, 1809). Egyptian Vultures are scavangers, mainly feeding off carrion, but they also prey on small mammals and eggs.

The adult Egyptian Vulture usually measures 85 cm from the point of the beak to the extremity of the tail and 1.7m between the tips of the wings, and weighs about 2.1 kilograms.

The adult's plumage is black and white. Its facial skin is yellow (it turns orange during nesting periods) and devoid of feathers. The tail is wedged and easily distinguished in flight. The nestlings are dark brown and gradually go light until they reach adulthood at the age of 5.

Egyptian Vultures are quite widely distributed and can be found in India, south west Asia, the Iberian Peninsula, and central and north Africa. They are partial migrants, depending on the local climate. If the Egyptian Vulture can endure the local winter it will usually not migrate. It is not well adjusted to cold weather conditions, mainly because of its surface area-volume ratio that causes a quick loss of heat.

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Egyptian Vulture Adult


The Egyptian Vulture reaches sexual maturity at the age of 5 and breeds like most other birds of prey. They mate for life. The nests are built in areas of cliffs and slopes in inaccessible ledges or niches in rocky walls. Both the male and the female take part in the nest construction. They use branches for the frame and upholster it with garbage and food remains (skeletons of small mammals, turtle shell etc.). They carry the nesting materials with their mouth, as opposed to most other raptors who use their legs instead. The nest is continually upholstered during the nesting and brooding period. The female lays 2 white eggs with dark brown spots (measurements: 94 grams in weight, 65x55 millimeter length and width) with a few days interval between them. This usually happens between the end of March to the end of April.


The Egyptian Vulture feeds mainly off carrion. Due to its relatively small size, it needs to wait until other scavangers (such as larger vultures and hyenas) finish their meal before it can start feeding. Its head and beak are well fitted for this situation. The bare skin prevents remains from sticking. If such remains would stick to its feathers, it would interrupt take off and flight. Using his long delicate beak he can tear the small pieces of meat left by the larger scavangers. The thin beak can also go through narrow spaces between bones that large beaked vultures cannot reach.

The Egyptian Vulture sometimes preys small and slow mammals and reptiles, mainly turtles and water turtles. It lifts the turtle to high elevation and drops it on rocky surface, smashing its shell. The Egyptian Vulture is one of the few animals that use instruments. It uses small stones to crack the rigid ostrich eggs by lifting a stone with its beak and hitting the egg in a strong swing of head and neck.

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Egyptian Vulture in flight (adult)

nl:Aasgier pl:Ścierwnik biały he:רחם (עוף) ja:エジプトハゲワシ


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