Egyptian vulture

(Neophron percnopterus)


Egyptian vulture IUCN ENDANGERED (EN)


Facts about this animal

The Egyptian vulture is a very small vulture with a total length of 53-70 cm, a wing-span of 155-170 cm, and a body-weight of 1.6 to 2.0 kg. It has relatively long pointed wings and a long wedge-shaped tail. The head is mostly bare with yellow to orange coloured skin, and there are lanceolate and lengthened whitish feathers on the hind neck. The bill is long and slender; the iris is red; the legs are yellow or light grey.

The plumage is white tinged cream with black remiges in adults, dark brown in immatures.

There are two subspecies: The subspecies ginginianus, ocurring ion India and Nepal has an entirely yellowish bill. In the nominate form percnopterus the tip of the bill is black.

Did you know?
That a European Union Life-Nature project is supportingsince 2005, the recovery of Egyptian Vultures in south-east France? Unlike the population in the French Pyrenees, which has remained stable at around 58 pairs, Egyptian Vultures in the south-east of France have declined by more than 59% in the last 50 years. Just 16 pairs were left by 2003. Now the Ligue pour la Protection de Nature (LPO, BirdLife in France) is overseeing conservation efforts that include establishing vulture feeding stations, or “restaurants”, to reverse the species’s decline in three areas: Provence- Alpes-Cote d’Azur, Rhone-Alpes and Languedoc-Roussillon. Similar restaurants have been successfully employed in the reintroduction of Cinereous Aegypius monachus and Griffon Vultures Gyps fulvus to other parts of the country.


Class AVES
Name (Scientific) Neophron percnopterus
Name (English) Egyptian vulture
Name (French) Vautour percnoptère
Name (German) Schmutzgeier
Name (Spanish) Alimoche común
Local names Afrikaans: Egiptiese aasvoël
Italian: Capovaccaio
Portuguese: Abutre do Egipto
Romansh: Tschess egipzian
CITES Status Appendix II
CMS Status Appendix II (as Accipitridae spp.)



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Vladimír Motyčka



Range Widely distributed in Eurasia and Africa. Africa: Algeria, Angola, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Chad, Djibouti, Egypt, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Gambia, Guinea, Kenya, Libya, Mali, Mauritania, Morocco, Namibia, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Somalia, South Africa, Sudan, Tanzania, Tunisia, Uganda, Western Sahara, Zimbabwe. Asia: Afghanistan, India, Iran, Iraq, Israel, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kuwait, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, Yemen Europe: Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, France, Georgia, Gibraltar, Greece, Italy, Macedonia former Yug. Rep., Malta, Moldova, Montenegro, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia Slovenia, Spain, Turkey, Ukraine. Vagrants may be encountered in many more counties.
Habitat Mediterranean-typ shrub, grasslands, mountain ranges up to 3000 m above sea level.
Wild population 30,000-40,000 mature individuals and the populations are declining (Red List 2001 IUCN)
Zoo population 107 birds reported to ISIS (2007)

In the Zoo

Egyptian vulture


How this animal should be transported

Untrained birds travel better in completely dark boxes, with a carpeted floor and roof, with an upwards sliding door at one end and no perch. As a general rule, trained birds are easier to manage in boxes with a carpeted perch at the right height to give plenty of head and tail room, and with a hinged side opening door.

For air transport, Container Note 20 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


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Why do zoos keep this animal

Egyptian vultures are kept for various reasons: they are of educational interest, in Europe, they are bred under a regional studbook from which animals have been returned to the wild, and injured or intoxicated birds which can no more be returned to the wild may be kept for animal welfare reasons.