Vultures are medium to large-sized birds of prey that feeds on the bodies of dead animals.
Scientific Name of Vulture:
The scientific name of vulture is Aegypius monachus.
Food of Vulture:
Vultures are carrion eaters, who attack small animals, insects, snails, and eggs of other birds. They clean the earth from rotting the carcass of dead animals. Vultures are known to remove meat, feathers, and skin, leaving only the skeleton of the dead animals.
Types of Vulture:
There are two types of vultures- old world vultures and new world vultures.
Old world vultures:
The old world vultures are native to Asia, Europe, and Africa, who belongs to the Accipitridae bird family. These vultures are related to the scientific family of eagles, harries, kites, hawks and buzzards. The old world vultures have a keen vision to locate its food but lack a strong sense of smell. The former world vultures have 16 species-
- Bearded vulture
- Cape vulture
- Cinereous vulture
- Egyptian vulture
- Griffon vulture
- Himalayan vulture
- Hooded vulture
- Indian vulture
- Lappet-faced vulture
- Palm-nut vulture
- Rupp ell’s vulture
- Slender-billed vulture
- White-rumped vulture
- White-headed vulture
- White blacked vulture
- Redheaded vulture
New World Vultures:
The new world vultures are native to North and South America, including Canada, the Caribbean, and Argentina, who belong to the scientific family of Cathartidae. These species are closely related to the storks and herons; new world vultures have an excellent sense of smell. The modern world vultures include seven species of vultures and condors. They are-
- Andean condor
- Black vulture
- California condor
- Greater yellow-headed vulture
- King vulture
- Lesser yellow-headed vulture
- Turkey vulture
The Largest Vulture:
Andean condor is the most giant vulture (largest vulture) in the world by combining the measurement of weight and wingspan. The wingspan of an Andean condor reaches 3.3 meters. The weight of these species reaches between 24 to 33 pounds.
It is believed that vultures create a bond for life with just a single other
Facts about Vultures:
- Vultures have bare head and neck so that when they feed on rotting carcasses, bacteria cannot delve into their feathers to cause infections.
- Vultures have weak legs and feet but have potent bills. If a vulture is not able to open the tough rip of a corpse, they will wait for another predator to open the flesh.
- With the help of thermals, vultures can reach a great height where the oxygen level is the thinnest.
- A vulture can consume more than 2 pounds of flesh in one minute.
- It is a myth that vultures circle dying animals waiting to feed. When they detect a dead body by sensing or hearing the sounds of other birds, they approach it quickly before any other predator.
- The stomach of a vulture carries a strong acid that helps them to digest the carcass that may be infected with bacteria.
- Though vulture feeds on mostly dead animals, they can attack and prey on extremely sick prey.
- Vultures urinate on their legs and feet to cool them during hot days; a process is called Urohydrosis. The urine of vulture also helps to kill the germs on the dead animals which they picked up.
- If vultures are threatened, they vomit immediately to lighten their body weight so that they can fly quickly.
- Some species of vultures make nests on the top of a tree, which can be as large as a king-size bed.
- A group of vultures alighting together is called “committee,” when they feed together, they are referred to as “wake.”
Vultures vs Eagle (Difference Between Eagle and Vulture):
- The body of a vulture is substantial, and their feathers are often furry and loose than other birds. The eagles have brown feathers on their body, wings, and white feathers on their head and tail.
- Vultures can be found in the open mountain regions, including plains or savannas. Eagles can be found in the wetlands, near the coasts of rivers and lakes.
- Vultures rarely kill other animals. They feed on the carcass of dead animals. Eagles feed on the fishes.
- Eagles are considered more superior than vultures as eagles can fly at high altitude.
- The speed of an eagle is 360 km per hour, which a vulture cannot match.
More Information About Vultures:
Some species of vultures are considered as threatened, endangered, or critically endangered. The vultures are threatened by habitat destruction, wind turbines, food loss, or poaching. Vultures are hunted for their body parts and meat, which is used for traditional medicinal purposes. It is essential to conserve the species of vultures as they help to maintain balance in the ecosystem. They prevent the spread of diseases such as rabies and tuberculosis by consuming deadly animals. The first Sunday of September each year is celebrated as the International Vulture Awareness Day.