The Egyptian Vulture or Pharoah's Chicken

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The Egyptian vulture, is sometimes called Pharaoh's Chicken, due to the fact that it is so often seen sculptured on the ancient monuments of Egypt. In Turkey it is called a name which signifies White Father, in allusion to the colour of its plumage. Its latin scientific name is Neophron percnopterus. This bird is not a very large one, being about equal to a raven in size, though its enormously long wings give it an appearance of much greater size. Its colour is white, with the exception of the quill feathers ofthe wings, which are dark-brown. The bill and the naked face and legs are bright ochreous yellow. It does not attain this white plumage until its third year, its colour before reaching adult age being brown, with a grey neck and dull yellow legs and face.
The Egyptian Vulture, although not large, is a really handsome bird, the bold contrast of pure white and dark brown being very conspicuous when it is on the wing. In this plumage it has never been seen in England, but one or two old records are known of the Egyptian Vulture being killed in England while still in its dark-brown clothing.

It inhabits a very wide range of country, being found throughout all the warmer parts of the Old WorId. Although it is tolerably plentiful, it is never seen in great numbers, as is the case with several of the vultures, but is always to be found in pairs, the male and female never separating, and invariably being seen close together. Should more than two of these birds be seen together, the spectator may be reasonably certain that they have congregated over a find of food. It has been well suggested that its Hebrew name of Racham, or Love, has been given to it in consequence of this constant association of the male and female.

The nest of the Egyptian Vulture is normally made in a rocky ledge, and the bird does not trouble itself about selecting a spot inaccessible to man, knowing well that it will not be disturbed. The nest is, like that of other vultures, a large and rude mass of sticks, sods and bones, and similar materials, to which are added any bits of rag, rope, skin, and other village refuse which it can pick up as it traverses the streets. There are two, and occasionally three, eggs, rather variously mottled with red. In its breeding, as in its general life, it is not a gregarious bird, never breeding in colonies, and, indeed, very seldom choosing a spot for its nest near one which has already been selected by another pair.

The birds exhibit a feeble beak, but a peculiar and intelligent, almost cunning expression of the head, and the ruff of feathers which surrounds the upper part of the neck. On the wing the contrast between the white plumage and the dark quill feathers of the wings, can be seen most clearly, the bird presenting a general appearance very similar to that of the common English seagull.
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