The Egyptian Vulture is one of the few bird species to use tools, using pebbles to hammer open eggs as large as an Ostrich’s. It is celebrated in the folklore of many cultures, having been admired throughout history for its intelligence, striking yellow face and white plumage.

The ancient Egyptians worshipped it as a symbol of the goddess Isis and immortalised its silhouette as a hieroglyph in their writing. But the sacred bird of the Pharaohs now faces extinction.

The Egyptian Vulture is Europe’s only long-distance migratory vulture. Flying up to 640 km per day, it can travel 5000 km when migrating between its European breeding sites and its wintering grounds at the southern edge of the Sahara.

On this epic journey across three continents, the Egyptian Vulture meets one danger after another. Those that escape being electrocuted by powerlines or poisoned by lethal farming chemicals may still fall victim to illegal shooting. The European population alone has fallen by up to 50% in the last 50 years, and the Balkan population has decreased by 80% in the last 30 years.

Illegal wildlife trafficking is also a big problem. In the Balkans – where only 70 pairs of Egyptian Vultures remain – young chicks and eggs are stolen from some of the most important breeding sites on the African-Eurasian flyway. Older birds are illegally poached and stuffed as ‘trophies’ for sale on the Western European black market.

For more information on the legislation covering this species, as well as maps and research, check out: http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/egyptian-vulture-neophron-percnopterus

Threats

  • Illegal shooting
  • Poisoning
September 27, 2019

Update – Egyptian vultures Sara & Tobia reach African skies!

Have you ever had to wait for a delayed flight? What’s the longest time you’ve waited? During her epic migration journey, the Egyptian vulture Sara had […]
September 26, 2019

How Albania is saving the Egyptian vultures in the Balkans

The Egyptian vulture is Europe’s only long-distance migratory vulture. Flying up to 640 km per day, it can travel 5000 km when migrating between its European […]
September 23, 2019

Sara and Tobia: two captive-bred Egyptian vultures enduring the challenges of the Mediterranean flyway

Two captive-bred Egyptian vultures, Sara and Tobia, were released in Italy in 2015 and have not been back since. Until now! Both birds travelled to Africa […]
September 15, 2019

The silent killer of Egyptian vultures

Last November, two Egyptian vultures were found dead in their nest in the International Douro Natural Park, on the border between Portugal and Spain, by the […]