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Neophron percnopterus

warning Critically Endangered
CR (A2a,A2c,C1)

Contributed: Asaf Mayrose, Lior Kislev, Meidad Goren
Update Time: Jan. 1, 2011, 7:39 a.m.

The Egyptian Vulture is classified as Critically Endangered (CR) due to the drastic decrease in population size and range. The rate of decline of both these parameters is estimated to exceed 80% over three generations (42 years). In the previous edition of the Red Book (2002), it was classified as Vulnerable (VU). The change in the status of the species reflects the deterioration in its population state and the decrease from about 100 nesting pairs in the early 2000s to about 50 pairs today.
CR Current Regional Assessment | VU Previous Regional Assessment | EN Global Assessment

Habitats Desert Cliffs, Mediterranean Cliffs, Mountainous Terrain
Presence In Israel Summer
Breeding In Israel Breeder
Migration Types Long Range
Zoographical Zones Mediterranean, Saharo-Arabian, Sudani
Landscape Types Mountainous, Cliffs
Vegetation Densities Medium, Low
Nest Locations Cliffs
Diet Types Carrion
Foraging Grounds Ground
Body Sizes Large (over 1000g)
Threat Factors Electrocution and collision with transmission wires, Human Settlements in Gorges, Hikers and rock climbers, Pesticide Poisoning, Lead Poisoning, Helicopter and aircraft activity in breeding areas, Food Scarcity, Increased mortality in migration and wintering areas, Hunting and trapping

The Egyptian Vulture is a small, relatively delicate vulture, and the smallest vulture in our region. The body of the adult is white, and the contrast between the white body and wing coverts and the black primaries is prominent. Its yellow head is featherless with a long slender beak tipped black. With its delicate beak, the Egyptian Vulture tears off small pieces of meat between the bones of carcasses. It also hunts insects and other small animals and gathers trash. The Egyptian Vulture is one of the only vultures that uses tools, mainly rocks to crack large eggs such as Ostrich.

A rare summer visitor to the Golan Heights, Judean Desert and the Negev. Several hundred individuals pass over during migration. In the past, it was very common and nested in all the cliff areas in Israel, and groups of tens and hundreds of birds could be seen at trash dumps and on carcasses throughout the country. The breeding population in Israel winters in East Africa.

Mountainous cliff landscapes in a variety of climatic regions. Outside the nesting season, it occupies open, flat habitats and sometimes feeds in trash dumps and near human habitations. The nest itself is usually hidden in caves and alcoves in rocky cliffs.

The Egyptian Vulture has been adversely affected by a number of threats in Israel, among them electrocution, secondary poisoning (including lead poisoning), nesting site disturbance and diminishing food sources. The breeding population in Israel winters in East Africa, where it has also been impacted, apparently mainly by poisoning and electrocution.

In Israel, extensive efforts are invested in preserving and rehabilitating the Egyptian Vulture population. These include:
Establishing a captive breeding nucleus and releasing juvenile birds into nature.
Restricting low flying aircraft in nesting areas.
Removing cattle carcasses from pastures to prevent vulture poisoning from veterinary medications.
Efforts to prevent Egyptian Vulture poisoning by agricultural pesticides.

The Egyptian Vulture is a migratory species that was very common up to a few decades ago, and has become rare and endangered throughout its global range. In Israel considerable efforts are invested to rehabilitate the population, however, because it is a migratory species, conservation is complex and requires international cooperation and action in its breeding grounds as well as in its wintering areas in Africa.

In addition to the conservation measures being implemented, the use of lead shot for hunting should be banned to prevent Egyptian Vulture poisoning from lead accumulation in all levels of the ecosystem. Because the Egyptian Vulture is a migratory species, conservation is complex and requires international cooperation.

  • הרלינג, א. 2001. סיכום סקר קינון דורסי יום בשמורת עין גדי. דו"ח רשות הטבע והגנים.
  • מירוז, א. והצופה, א. 2014. סיכום סקר קינון עופות דורסים במדבר יהודה. דו"ח רשות הטבע והגנים.
  • פז, ע. 1986. עופות. מתוך אלון, ע. (עורך), החי והצומח של ארץ ישראל. כרך 6. הוצאת משרד הביטחון, ישראל.
  • פרומקין, ר., מן ש., 1984 .קנון דורסים בחבל המדברי של ישראל 1984-1980. העזניה גליון 11. הוצאת החברה להגנת הטבע.
  • פרידמן, ג. 2010. סיכום סקר דורסי יום במחוז צפון. דו"ח עבור רשות הטבע והגנים והחברה להגנת הטבע.
  • פרלמן, י., אלתרמן, ש. וגרניט, ב. 2011. סקר עופות דוגרים בנחלים הפנימיים, אביב 2011. דו"ח מרכז הצפרות של החברה להגנת הטבע.
  • פרלמן, י., שוחט, א. ולבינגר, ז. 2009. סקר אטלס ציפורים בערבה סיכום שנת 2009. דו"ח מרכז הצפרות של החברה להגנת הטבע.
  • Mendelssohn, H. 1972. The impact of pesticides on bird life in Israel. ICBP 11:75-104.
  • Mendelssohn, H. 1975. Report on the Status of Some Bird Species in Israel in 1974. I.C.B.P. 12:265-270.
  • Shirihai, H., 1996. The Birds of Israel. Academic Press, London.
  • Symes, A. 2013. Species generation lengths. Unpublished, BirdLife International.
  • Species page at Birdlife International
Contributed: Asaf Mayrose, Lior Kislev, Meidad Goren

Current Occupancy Map

Current occupancy map by density
Data Missing Sporadic Limited Sites Low Density High Density
0 0 0 0 0

Distribution maps

The maps presented here provide visual information on the distribution of species in Israel from the past and present, and the changes in occupancy and breeding density during the comparison period. For further reading

Relative Abundance 2010-2020

Breeding density values in the current decade as determined from experts' opinion and observations from databases.

Relative Abundance 2010-2020 by density
Data Missing Sporadic Limited Sites Low Density High Density
8 12 12 21 19

Relative Abundance 1980-1990

Density values based primarily on the book The Birds of Israel (Shirihai 1996).

Relative Abundance 1980-1990 by density
Data Missing Sporadic Limited Sites Low Density High Density
5 14 14 17 22

Occupancy 1990-2020

The map shows differences in the species breeding distribution between the 1980's breeding map and the current weighted breeding evaluation. Negative value - species previously bred in the grid and is not presently breeding; positive value - species has not previously bred in the grid and is currently breeding.

Occupancy 1990-2020
Data Missing No Change Occupancy Increase Occupancy Decrease
6 35 1 9

Change in Relative Abundance 1990-2020

The map shows the changes in the relative abundance of a species in each of the distribution grids between the breeding map of the 1980s and the weighted current breeding evaluation. Negative values - decline in abundance; positive values - increase in abundance; zero - no change in abundance.

Change in Relative Abundance 1990-2020
80 to 100 50 20 to 30 No Change 30- to 20- 50- 100- to 80- Data Missing
0 4 2 22 12 14 11 16

Red number
IUCN category
Threat Definition according to the red book
() districts
% of protected sites

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