The Egyptian Vulture, Bird Of The Pharaohs


The Egyptian Vulture, Bird Of The Pharaohs

Welcome Egyptian Vulture, Bird Of The Pharaohs, Find Intriguing Information On Vultures, Vulture Heads, vultures eating, All Documented By Vultures Pictures.

  • Latin Name - Neophron percnopterus
  • Wingspan - 145 - 175cm
  • Tail Length – 23 - 26cm
  • Overall Length – 54 – 66 cm
  • Size Of Male In Relation To Female – 98%

The Egyptian Vulture – Description

The Egypt vulture Neophron percnopterus is a small to medium sized vulture. It is placed in the Old World vulture group and is the only member of the “neophron” group.

The Egypt vultures are sometimes called White Scavenger Vultures or Pharaohs Chickens. These vultures in adult plumage are white with yellow faces and ceres and have fairly long legs. They have black underwing flight primary markings making them quite distinctive in flight.

Nearly all of the Vulture Species are different to other birds of prey in the fact that the males are not so considerably smaller than the females.

As you can see from the stats I have provided on the Egyptian Vulture, the male is almost the same size as the female. In bird of prey terms this is very rare. Normally, in the Falcon Bird, the Hawk Bird, the Eagles, and the Owl Species, the female is much larger and far more powerful than the male.

For some reason evolution has negated this difference with the vulture genus. The Egypt vulture is a very intelligent bird and has even learnt to use tools to get food. Very few birds have learnt to do this, the other bird of prey that has learnt to use tools is also in the vulture family.

The Lammergeier has learnt to drop bones from high up onto sharp rocks to break them and get to the marrow inside. The Lammergeier is incidently also the closest living relative of the Egyptian Vulture.

Egyptian Vultures Eating Habits

Egyptian Vultures, as with all birds of prey have fantastic eyesight. The Vultures eating habits are very dependent on what they can spot. As they are members of the Old World Vulture Group, they do not have a good sense of smell and so rely on their eyesight a lot.

They can spot a carcass from many thousands of feet high and from very far away. As I have said before and as the video shows, they are very ingenious birds and will persevere for a long time with tricky problems like the ostrich egg; this trait makes them very successful.

Studies have shown vultures eating a large variety of things. This species of Vulture has been recorded eating;

  • Insects
  • Deceased Mammalian Flesh
  • Deceased Reptile Flesh
  • Faeces (also human faeces)
  • Small live prey such as mice and injured bigger prey.

Egypt Vultures eating habits are much the same as any other vulture; they are messy and voracious eaters. Their beaks are strong and hooked at the end, ideal for stripping meat from larger carcasses.

Although vulture eating habits seem to be messy and a little bit disgusting, all vultures provide a very important service for the ecosystem of the planet. Without scavengers like the vultures, the planet would be rife with disease and infection and there would be rotting carcasses lying around the Serengeti.

The fact that this species of vultures eating habits include eating faeces has puzzled scientists for many years. They now believe that the faeces contains caretenoid pigments which is responsible for the bright yellow to orange pigmentation of the face. This could have something to do with breeding and attraction of a mate.

Vulture Heads

Vulture Heads are very specifically designed. For a long time no one could work out why nearly all vultures are bald at least around the facial area and sometimes on the whole head.

We now know that because of the vultures eating habits. The vulture heads will often get covered in the residue from the carcass. As this carcass is often rotting and not generally very pleasant, if this residue were to get stuck in head feathers it could lead to disease and infection spreading.

Having no feathers around the face and head area helps sanitise when feeding. Studies have shown that vultures will then bask in the sun to kill the remaining bacteria with UV rays. Vulture Heads are not just designed for the pretty looks ;)

Egyptian vulture – behaviour

This species of vulture can often be seen soaring on thermals. As with all vultures, the Egypt vulture is a master of the thermals and can effortlessly soar for days at a time without once flapping its broad wings.

Even though it is one of the smaller vultures, it gives as good as it gets when it comes to competition with other members of the vulture family. They are fast and can be quite aggressive towards other birds on a kill. The main competition for food comes from jackals and bigger vultures and eagles like the tawny Eagles and African Hawk Eagle. This can also be seen in the video I have provided.

Egyptian Vultures are sociable birds and roost socially as well as sometimes look for food in groups..a group of vultures is called a committee and not a flock like other birds. It is usual to see many vultures together spiralling upwards gracefully on thermals.

Egyptian Vulture – breeding

Vultures are generally monogamous, although affairs are rife in the vulture world, especially with neighbouring nests! Both parents will incubate the 1-3 eggs (3 is rare) and both will also protect the nest if needed.

Because of the fact that nest sites are usually communal, the survival rate of chicks is quite high. Higher than other raptors that are less social and risk having eggs snatched by other predators.

Egyptian Vulture In History And Culture

The vultures played an important part in Ancient Egyptian Culture. They were highly respected and even were given a place among the Hieroglyphs.

They were so involved with Egyptian way of life that they earnt the name pharaohs chicken. This is also due to the fact that they will not fly if they can help it and instead walk around on the ground pecking at scraps not unlike a big white chicken.

Use In Falconry

Because of the fact that vultures as a genus don’t hunt at all, the Egyptian Vulture is not used in falconry as such. It is however flown a lot in Falconry displays and due to its social nature and not so intimidating size it makes a great display bird. It is often left to wonder through the audience being petted like a dog.

The main difference between vultures and other raptors is the fact that vultures have no power at all in their talons and cannot grip to any effect. This is why vultures are on the cusp of being de classified as raptors altogether. The definition of a raptor is that they kill using their feet. Vultures shouldn’t be in this group at all really.

I hope you have enjoyed my Egyptian vulture page and have enjoyed the vultures pictures and information. As always feel free to browse the rest of the site :)

If you want, you can upload your own page right here just below very easily, just talk about any experience you may have had with the great world of Falconry and Birds of Prey and I will upload it for don’t even have to put in your name if you don’t want.