Critically endangered baby vulture pictured spreading its wings at London Zoo

  • The critically endangered Vulture chick named Egbert was born on March 30.

Keepers at London Zoo have captured pitcures and videos of a 3-month-old critically Endangered vulture chick spreading its wings.

Egbert the baby Ruppell’s griffon vulture thrilled keepers when it hatched in March – the first vulture to hatch at the conservation zoo in more than 40 years.

At 3-months-old, the vulture is now a whopping 4.5kg, which is 40 times his hatch weight. He and has been living in at the zoo with his parents, Philomena and Cuthbert, after being hand-reared by specialist keepers.

At 3-months-old, the vulture already weighs 4.5kg. Credit: London Zoo

Zookeeper Robert Harland said: “We’re really pleased with Egbert’s development so far,

“The soft grey chick fuzz is long gone and Egbert now sports the distinctive hunch-back and sharp beak of an adolescent vulture."

Robert hand-reared the Critically Endangered bird, and is helping him through an important ‘physiotherapy’ regime - with daily gripping exercises to help him build strength in his feet and claws.

Egbert is also regularly challenged by a special a vulture-assault course, clambering over sticks and twigs to exercise his claws.

“Over the next few months we’d expect to see Egbert build further strength in his feet, neck and wings.

Egbert exercises on a spcecially built vulture assault course. Credit: London Zoo

"He’s already started to flap and stretch his wings, and that strength will keep developing until he’s a confident flyer," Harland said.

Ruppell’s griffon vulture are the world’s highest-flying birds, documented to have reached soaring heights of 10,973 meters above sea level – the same height as most aeroplanes.

But the wild vulture population became ‘Critically Endangered’ in 2015 - so London Zoo's conservation programme is helping the European Breeding Programme to build the international population back up.Keepers at the zoo are hopeful that Egbert - who is currently spending time with the other vultures under keeper supervision - will properly join the rest of the flock full-time later this year.