|Size||Up to 51 in (130 cm); up to 126 in (320 cm) (wingspan)|
|Speed||Up to 55 mph (88 km/h)|
|Weight||15-33 lb (7-15 kg)|
|Habitat||America, Africa, Europe, Asia|
|Family||Old World vultures, New World vultures|
|Scientific name||Accipitridae; Cathartidae|
|Characteristics||Large bird of prey that mostly eats carrion|
Vultures are large birds of prey. There are almost 20 kinds of Old World vultures (aepgypiinae), including the cinereous vulture, the Rüppell's vulture and the griffon vulture. And there are seven types of New World vultures (cathartidae, or condors), including the king vulture and the Andean condor. Three types of vulture make up their own sub-family (gypaetinae): the bearded vulture, Egyptian vulture and palm-nut vulture.
Anatomy and Appearance
Head and Neck
Vultures mostly have an unmistakable bald head and a bald neck with a ruff of feathers. This unusual look is especially handy for the birds because they get very close to their food (dead animals) with their heads and necks. Bacteria from the dead animal can’t breed as quickly on bare skin as in feathers.
Many vultures have a large wingspan. The bearded vulture's wingspan is up to 283 cm and the California condor's wingspan up to 300 cm. When the Andean condor spreads its wings, it measures an impressive 320 cm from tip to tip.
Senses and Abilities
Most vultures fly at 31-37 mph (50-60 km/h). The Californian condor is particularly fast, it can reach speeds of up to 55 mph (88 km/h).
Each type of vulture has come up with its own tricks to get at food. The Egyptian vulture, for example, cracks ostrich eggs by throwing stones at them. Bearded vultures grab bones, fly up into the air and drop them onto rocks so they break.
Enemies and Threats
This isn’t because they’re too big or because predators are too small or unskilled. Because of their diets, vultures have lots of bacteria on their feathers that would make most predators sick. It’s best to keep your paws (or in this case: teeth) off these germ factories!
Importance For the Ecosystem
A special characteristic of vultures is their diet: they eat (mostly) carrion. This doesn’t make them particularly popular with most people at first glance. Ew, They Eat Dead Animals! But without vultures, our ecosystem would be in danger. Because they eat dead, rotting corpses, they reduce the risk of dangerous diseases breaking out. Many vultures even eat the bones of their prey. There is an acid in theirstomach that’s more corrosive than battery acid. It helps digest hard bones.
From here you find facts written by animalfunfacts.net fan Theo
Griffon Vulture Facts
|Size||Up to 47 in (120 cm); up to 110 in (280 cm) (wingspan)|
|Weight||13-24 lb (6-11 kg)|
|Habitat||Africa, Europe, Asia|
|Scientific name||Gyps fulvus|
|Characteristics||Largest vulture in Europe (body length)|
Griffon vultures are the largest vultures in Europe. They don’t have feathers on their necks. They can easily see a 12 inches (30 cm) object on the ground from almost 2.5 miles (4 km) up. They only eat muscle flesh and viscera from carrion. They leave practically everything else.
Cinereous Vulture Facts
|Size||Up to 43 inch (110 cm); wingspan up to 116 inch (295 cm)|
|Weight||15-26 lb (7-12 kg)|
|Scientific name||Aegypius monachus|
|Characteristics||One of the largest birds of prey in Europe|
Cinereous vultures eat almost everything on a dead animal: tough skin, hard-to-digest sinew and even bone are no problem for the cinereous vulture. It’s not only vultures that gather around animal corpses to feast. But cinereous vultures are so big that they’re mostly the bosses at any “buffet”. Nobody usually wants to mess with such large opponents. If they can’t find enough carrion, powerful cinereous vultures will also hunt live tortoises, lizards and marmots.
Rüppell's Vulture Facts
|Size||Up to 40 in (103 cm); up to 102 in (260 cm) (wingspan)|
|Weight||13-20 lb (6-9 kg)|
|Scientific name||Gyps rueppellii|
|Characteristics||The highest flying bird in the world|
Rüppell's vultures can fly very high. In November 1973, a Rüppell's vulture was spotted at a height of 37,000 feet (11,300 meters) (because it was sadly sucked into a jet turbine). They are very social animals. When one discovers a corpse, it’s not uncommon for hundreds of animals to settle down to eat just a short time later. Just like its relative, the griffon vulture, the Rüppell's vulture only eats muscle flesh and viscera. It doesn’t bother with skin, sinew or bone.
The facts above were written by animalfunfacts fan Theo. Thanks!