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White-headed Vulture chick

On 6 March 2018, a White-headed Vulture chick hatched at the Hawk Conservancy Trust to parents Angus and Satara. This new chick is the first recorded White-headed Vulture chick to hatch in captivity in 2018, and Angus and Satara’s third chick.

 Watch this video to see how much it changes in the first three weeks of it’s life.

Angus and Satara first came to the Hawk Conservancy Trust in a group of vultures confiscated by Italian customs in 2006. Within this group were two other White-headed Vultures who are also breeding here at the Trust. That pair successfully bred and raised a chick in 2017 and are currently incubating an egg, which is due to hatch very soon.

It is rare to breed vultures successfully in captivity and we have made the remarkable achievement of breeding the most White-headed Vultures in the last 12 months worldwide. There are 56 White-headed Vultures globally on ZIMS (Zoological Information Management System), and 45 of these, including our four breeding adults, are in the European Endangered Species Programme. The remaining 11 birds are housed outside of Europe.

As far as we know, this is the first time footage of a chick hatching has been captured for this species and we have continued to gather data whilst the parents raise the chick. The footage will increase our understanding of the breeding biology of the species and also help other collections that are trying to breed them. We have already observed that this species shares parenting duties equally; both parents incubate the egg and also feed and care for the chick in equal measure.

We now have seven White-headed Vultures in total, which includes our four breeding adults, two immature chicks, and our new hatchling. Angus and Satara are ambassadors for the species and have flown together since 2007 and developed a close bond. We are delighted that they have hatched another chick at the Trust, especially as White-headed Vultures are Critically Endangered in the wild.

©2018 Hawk Conservancy Trust