Egyptian Vulture - Neophron percnopterus
Neophron refers to a Greek mythological character who was turned into a vulture, percnopterus is from the Greek pérknos (black) and ptéron (wing). In the Occitan language, it is called the “Maria blanca” and gave its name to the Marie Blanque Pass which links the Aspe and Ossau valleys. In Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphics, the vulture symbol was the letter A. There are two sub-species. One lives in the Mediterranean region and in Africa between the southern Sahara and the Equator and is also called Neophron percnoterus: it has a yellow beak with a black tip. The other lives in India and Nepal and is called Neophron percnoterus ginginianus. Its beak is completely yellow. It picks out large numbers of ticks from the body orifices of cattle which makes it the best natural method of getting rid of parasites.
CLASS : Aves
ORDER : Falconiformes
FAMILY : Accipitridae
WINGSPAN : 1.6 m
WEIGHT : 1.6 – 2.2 kg
CLUTCH SIZE : 2 eggs
INCUBATION : 42 days
LIFE EXPECTANCY : 37 years in captivity
DIET : an opportunistic bird, it has a varied diet which includes carcasses, scraps and sometimes insects, small reptiles and ostrich eggs.
NATURAL HABITAT : it nests in cliffs and feeds in open, more or less cultivated areas. It uses tools for feeding.
RANGE : Europe, Near East, Africa
Conservation status info
EN : Endangered
This species is susceptible to a number of threats throughout its range, including disturbance, poisoning (by lead, gunshot or antibiotic residue), poisoning, electrocution (by power lines), collisions with wind turbines, a reduction in its sources of food and alterations to its habitat. In India, Diclofenac has reportedly caused a steep decline.