10 Interesting Facts about Vultures

One of these following facts about vultures might be really interesting for you to read. Vulture, as you know, is the name give to two groups of convergently evolved, usually scavenging birds of prey: the New World vultures, including the Californian and Andean Condors; and the Old World vultures, including the birds that are seen scavenging on carcasses of dead animals on African plains. To get to know more about them, here are some facts about vultures you might like to know.

Facts about vultures 1: Species

There are about 23 vulture species in the world, and at least one type of vulture is found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica. These are relatively adaptable birds found in a range of habitats, including suburban regions, but even so, 14 species are considered either threatened or endangered.

Facts about vultures 2: New World and Old World

Vulture species are divided into New World and Old World groups depending on their ranges. There are more vulture species in the Old World, and they are not closely related to New World vultures but are often considered together because they fill a similar ecological niche. New World vultures may be more closely related to storks than to other raptors.

Facts about vultures - Vulture

Facts about vultures – Vulture

Facts about vultures 3: Social

Unlike many raptors, vultures are relatively social and often feed, fly or roost in large flocks. A group of vultures is called a committee, venue or volt. In flight, a flock of vultures is a kettle, and when the birds are feeding together at a carcass, the group is called a wake.

Facts about vultures 4: Carnivorous

Vultures are carnivorous and eat carrion almost exclusively. They prefer fresh meat but are able to consume carcasses that may have rotted so much as to be dangerous for other animals. This gives vultures a unique and important ecological niche because they help prevent the spread of diseases from old, rotting corpses.

Facts about vultures - African Hooded-vulture

Facts about vultures – African Hooded-vulture

Facts about vultures 5: Excellent Senses of Sight and Smell

Vultures have excellent senses of sight and smell to help them locate food, and they can find a dead animal from a mile or more away. Because of this, vultures often have large territories and will spend a lot of time soaring to locate their next meal.

Facts about vultures 6: Myth

It is a myth that vultures will circle dying animals waiting to feed. These birds are powerful fliers and will soar on thermals while they look for food, but when they locate a carcass, they will approach it quickly to begin feeding before other predators find it.

Facts about vultures - Flying

Facts about vultures – Flying

Facts about vultures 7: Bare Heads and Necks

Vultures have bare heads and often bare necks so that when they feed on rotting carcasses, bacteria and other parasites cannot burrow into their feathers to cause infections. This allows the birds to stay healthier while feeding on material that would easily infect other animals.

Facts about vultures 8: Capable of Attacking

While vultures eat mostly dead animals, they are capable of attacking and will often prey on extremely sick, wounded or infirm prey, especially if food has been scarce and there are no carcasses nearby.

Facts about vultures - Feeding

Facts about vultures – Feeding

Facts about vultures 9: Threats

Vultures face many threats that are endangering their populations. Poisoning is the biggest threat to vultures, primarily from toxins or lead in the carcasses they eat. Other hazards include car collisions as they feed on road kill and electrocution from collisions with power lines.

Facts about vultures 10: Research

Scientists have begun to study vultures’ unique senses and abilities and are considering using the birds to help find bodies from crimes. Studying how a vulture finds a body and how quickly it can consume the body can be useful for forensic analysis.

Facts about vultures - A group of vultures

Facts about vultures – A group of vultures

Hope you would find those vultures facts really interesting and useful for your additional reading.

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