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Providing evidence to improve practice

Action: Foster eggs or chicks of vultures with wild conspecifics Bird Conservation

Key messages

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Two small studies, one a New World vulture and one of an Old World species found that single chicks were successfully adopted by foster conspecifics, although in one case this led to the death of one of the foster parents’ chicks.


Supporting evidence from individual studies


A small study on a farm in North Carolina, USA, in June 1975 (Stewart 1983) found that transferring a 35-40 day-old (American) black vulture Coragyps atratus chick from a nest that was about to be destroyed to a nest containing two 30-35 day-old chicks led to the successful rearing of the fostered chick. However, the smaller of the two chicks originally in the nest was neglected by its parents and died soon after the foster chick was introduced. No data on the fledging success or subsequent survival of the surviving chicks is provided.



A small study on Sicily, Italy (Di Vittorio et al. 2006), found that a captive-bred Egyptian vulture Neophron percopterus chick fostered into a wild nest in July 2003 was accepted by the foster parents and their two chicks and fledged successfully when approximately 90 days old. The chick was placed in the nest when 60 days old and competed successfully for food. The parents were supplied with supplementary food to ensure that the burden of feeding three chicks was not excessive (vultures tend to raise one or two chicks).


Referenced papers

Please cite as:

Williams, D.R., Child, M.F., Dicks, L.V., Ockendon, N., Pople, R.G., Showler, D.A., Walsh, J.C., zu Ermgassen, E.K.H.J. & Sutherland, W.J. (2019) Bird Conservation. Pages 141-290 in: W.J. Sutherland, L.V. Dicks, N. Ockendon, S.O. Petrovan & R.K. Smith (eds) What Works in Conservation 2019. Open Book Publishers, Cambridge, UK.