Egyptian Vulture

The Egyptian vulture (Neophron percnopterus) is a scavenger with a wide geographical range, including populations in Central Asia. Adult vultures have white plumage around their head, yellow face, and long black feathers along the edges of their wings. Vulture chicks are dark brown. As this bird matures, it becomes whiter and whiter. Vultures have no feathers on their heads, a characteristic that allows them to stay relatively clean while eating.

Admiration of the Egyptian vulture dates to the ancient Egyptians, who worshiped the bird as a symbol of the goddess Isis and immortalized its silhouette as a hieroglyph in their writing. Today, however, the sacred bird of the Pharaohs is now an endangered species, as classified by the IUCN Red List. The Red Book of Kazakhstan lists the status of the Egyptian vulture as “Rare, declining in number,” estimating the population in the country to number only in the dozens or a few hundred breeding pairs.