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Egyptian Vulture

Neophron percnopterus


This white vulture is highly distinctive, with a bright yellow bill and face.

They are thought to be intelligent; having exhibited the use of tools to crack open large eggs, and twigs to gather wool to line its nest. Such tool use has been recorded in hand-reared chicks and may be innate rather than learnt through observation.

As a scavenger its diet is varied and includes carrion, tortoises, organic waste and even mammalian faeces. The species plays a hugely important role in the ecosystem, disposing of carcasses quickly thereby stopping the spread of disease.

Despite its huge range, populations of Egyptian Vulture are declining across the globe. This is due to an array of threats like poisoning, poaching, electrocution and human disturbance.

The key conservation actions going forward include protecting nesting sites from poaching and human disturbance, enforcing laws around poison-baiting, insulating poorly-designed electric pylons and ban use of Diclofenac for treatment of livestock across the species range. Increased awareness and education on the impacts of poaching and poisoning is essential in protecting this species. Changes in EU regulations about the disposal of carcasses will help with food availability and investigate the role of ‘vulture restaurants’ which have played an important role in vulture conservation through Europe.

  • Order: Accipitriformes
  • Family: Accipitridae
  • Population: 18,000-57,000
  • Trend: stable
  • Size: 58-70 cm
  • Weight: 1.6-2.2kg

EDGE Score

EDGE Score: 5.05 (?)
ED Score: 15.56 (?)
GE / IUCN Red List (?)
Not Evaluated Data Deficient Least Concern Near Threatened Vulnerable Endangered Critically Endangered Extinct in the Wild Extinct


A widespread species, the range of the Egyptian vulture stretched longitudinally from the West African coastline to Bangladesh in Western-Central Asia. In terms of latitude the range extends north to south from Ukraine to South Africa.

Habitat and Ecology

This species’ natural habitat includes plains, mountains, wetlands, uplands, savannahs and semi-deserts. They migrate to warmer regions during the winter as they cannot tolerate the cold. They are often seen around human settlements.

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Conservation Actions

For each key category of conservation action, we calculated a conservation attention score based on expert information. In this graph, a higher score means the action is being carried out more intensively over more of the species range. The colour shows how important each action is considered to be for the conservation of this species.

Engaging stakeholders
Addressing threats
Status of knowledge
Management plan
Capacity building
Behaviour change
Awareness raising
  Score: 100 means the activity occurs at high level across more than 75% of the species range
Very Low

Overall Conservation Attention

We combined all of the expert information on conservation actions to calculate an overall conservation attention score for this species. Please help us to reach our goal of establishing dedicated conservation attention at “High” levels for all EDGE species.

Very Low Low Medium High

More information

Recent studies have grouped all possible conservation activities for any species into nine key categories (Washington et. al 2015). For each action, we asked experts for each species to assess the extent to which that action is being carried out and how much of the species’ range that action occurs in. For each action we used these two pieces of information to calculate the conservation attention score per action. A score of 100 means that the action is being carried out to a high level across at least 75% of the species range. We then combined the scores for all actions into an overall conservation attention score for the species. The experts also judged how important each category was to the conservation of that particular species.

This wordcloud illustrates the threats facing this species. The size of each word indicates the extent of a species range that is affected by that threat (larger size means a greater area is affected). The colour of the word indicates how much that threat impacts the species (darker shades of red mean the threat is more severe).

Crops Livestock Renewable energy Roads/Rail Utility lines Hunting Recreation Ecosystem changes Native species Viruses Agriculture

Threat wordcloud key:

Small area affected
Large area affected
Least severe
Most severe
Severity unknown
Source: The IUCN List of Threatened Species. Version 2017.1.
Available at:

Samson Zelleke

  • Project name: Threats and population status of sedentary and migratory Egyptian Vultures in Ethiopia.
  • Project site: Amhara, Afar & Oromia regions of Ethiopia
  • Active: 2020 - 2022
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