The Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus percnopterus) is a large bird of prey, and a raptor. It is also called the White Scavenger Vulture or the Pharaoh’s Chicken.
The Egyptian Vulture is white with long neck feathers that form a hackle (raised feathers). Its wings are pointed and its tail is wedge-shaped. It has a yellow face without feathers, a long beak with a long, horizontal nostril, a dark grey-tipped hooked beak, and dark eyes. Its legs are pink with long, straight, sharp talons. Its third and fourth toes are slightly webbed.
It measures 47–65 centimetres (19–26 inches) in length. Its wingspan is almost three times the size of its body length.
The Egyptian Vulture is found in southern Europe, northern Africa (especially in Egypt), the Middle East, central Asia, and north-west India. If it is from colder locations, it migrates south in winter, but if it is from warmer locations, it does not migrate – it is residential.
It is a scavenger, feeding on the meat of dead animals (called carrion). It also hunts small mammals (such as rabbits), birds, bird eggs, and reptiles.
The Egyptian Vulture is seen alone or in monogamous pairs. It nests on rocky cliffs or in tall trees with many other couples. Its nest is made of twigs. The female usually lays two reddish eggs, and both parents sit on them until they hatch after about 42 days.
The chicks are blackish or chocolate brown with black and white patches. Their feathers turn white when they are an adult at five years of age. Chicks leave the nest after 90-110 days.
The Egyptian Vulture lives, on average, for about 21 years in the wild.
[Location of photographs: Paris Zoo, France]
Photographer: Martina Nicolls
Martina Nicolls: SIMILAR BUT DIFFERENT IN THE ANIMAL KINGDOM