10 Cool Facts about Vultures – General Part 2

Cape Vulture - Vulture Restaurant @ VulPro Photo Mandy Shroder
Cape Vulture – Vulture Restaurant @ VulPro Photo Mandy Shroder

1. Spaghetti legs
Unlike the Martial Eagle, vulture’s legs are not very strong, they also have blunter talons.

Cape Vulture - Beak close up. Photo Mandy Schroder
Cape Vulture – Beak close up. Photo Mandy Schroder

2. Batty Beaks
A vulture’s beak or bill is strong for tearing meat off a carcass. If a carcass is too stiff for them to open, then they cleverly wait for another predator to do all the hard work and then they enjoy eating too.

3. Livestock are safe
Vultures do not kill healthy livestock; they would only prey on sick or dying animals, especially if food has been scarce.

4. Food for thought
Vultures feed their babies by feeding well at a carcass and then regurgitating food from their crop for their babies when they are back at the nest.

Cape Vulture - Feet up close. Photo Mandy Schroder
Cape Vulture – Feet up close. Photo Mandy Schroder

5. Safety first
Turkey vultures urinate on their legs and feet to cool off on hot days. Their urine also helps to kill bacteria and parasites that they may have picked up when feeding.

6. Wide wings
The Andean condor has the largest wingspan of any vulture measuring 3 to 3.4 metres with wings extended.

7. Slightly smaller
The crow sized hooded vulture (Found in sub Saharan Africa), is the smallest vulture with a wingspan of only 1.5 metres.

8. Dead weight
When threatened, vultures vomit. This is a defence mechanism against predators, but also lightens their body weight for a quick getaway.

9. Chatterbox
Vultures don’t sing, they mostly grunt, hiss and scold each other.

10. Disease Doctor to Detective
Scientists are considering using vultures to help find bodies from crimes. Studying how a vulture finds a body and how quickly it can consume the body is useful for forensic analysis.

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