Vulture (English: Vulture) is a bird of prey that spreads in the continents of the world except for Antarctica and Oceania. Eagles are characterized by sharp eyesight and the ability to fly at great heights, and they are among the animals that feed mainly on carrion; Making them of great environmental importance, there are two types of vultures: Old World vultures of the family Accipitridae, the family that also includes eagles, and buzzards, and New World vultures of the family Cathartidae. for more


New World vultures

The New World vultures are distinguished by several characteristics, including that they do not build a nest, but rather lay their eggs in the cracks of high rocks, or in the cavities of trees, and they are bare-headed from feathers; This is so that the blood does not stick to the feathers when the eagle puts its head inside the carcass.


This is because the presence of feathers encourages the growth of bacteria, while the naked head is exposed to sunlight, which eliminates bacteria and protects the eagle from diseases, and the New World vultures do not have a throat, therefore; They can only hiss and hum, and among the most famous types of New World vultures are:


The turkey vulture

(in English: Turkey Vulture): scientifically known as Cathartes aura, it is one of the most widespread New World vultures; Where the Roman eagles are considered small in size, and their wingspan (the distance between the wings) is approximately two meters, and the color of their feathers is black to brown, and the color of the head of the turkey eagle is dark gray, turning at maturity to red, and the sense of smell in the Roman eagle is very well developed. So be the first to find the carrion.

The turkey vulture

The turkey vulture

The black eagle (English: Black vulture): It is scientifically known as Coragyps atratus, and it is the most common type of eagle, and it is sometimes called a carrion crow. The black eagle lives in tropical and subtropical regions; But it often reaches temperate regions during its wanderings. It is a black bird with a chunky body, its body length reaches (60) centimeters, and it has short wings, a very short tail, and a bare head of feathers; But the back of the neck is covered with feathers.

The black eagle

The black eagle

King vulture (English: king vulture): It is scientifically known as Sarcoramphus papa, and it lives in lowland tropical forests extending from southern Mexico to Argentina, and it is multi-colored; Its head and neck appear red, yellow, bluish, and gray, and the eyes are white with red rings, and its upper feathers are orange, and the lower part is white; The wingspan of the king eagle reaches two meters, and the body length is about 80 centimeters.

King vulture

King vulture

Andean condors: It is scientifically known as Vultur gryphus, and the California condor is one of the largest birds that can fly; The wingspan of a male Andean condor can reach 3.2 meters, the weight of the male reaches 15 kilograms, and the female’s weight reaches 11 kilograms. The color of the male’s body is black and his wing feathers are white to grayish, and the color of the head, neck and giblets is red or pinkish, and the neck is surrounded by white feathers.


California condor: It is scientifically known as Gymnogyps californianus, and its body length from beak to tail is usually (2.9) meters. The weight of each male and female California condor is (11) kilograms. The adult condor is black, and its wings are surrounded by stripes of white feathers, and the color of the head, neck and gizzard is between red and orange.


Old World vultures

differ from the New World vultures in that they have a throat and can make various sounds such as grunting, crowing, and shouting, and they build nests of sticks on trees or rocks, and have wide wings, feet and strong beaks.

One of the most famous vultures. old world:


The gray eagle (English: Cinereous vulture): It is sometimes called the black eagle, and it is scientifically known as Aegypius monachus, and it lives in southern Europe, Asia Minor, the central steppes, and high mountains in Asia. It is one of the largest birds that can fly, and some of the largest scientists consider it the largest of the eagles. Birds of prey at all. The body length of the gray eagle is approximately one meter, and its weight is 12.5 kilograms, and it has wide wings, the distance between them is approximately 2.7 meters, its color is black, and it has a short tail and is wedge-shaped

The gray eagle

The gray eagle

The Egyptian Eagle or Pharaoh’s Chicken (English: Egyptian vulture): It is scientifically known as Neophron percnopterus, and it spreads from North and East Africa to southern Europe, and from the Middle East to Afghanistan and India. It is a small eagle with a body length of 60 centimeters. Its feathers are white with a few black feathers on the wing, and its face is bare of feathers, but there are feathers of graduated length on the head.


Common griffon: It is scientifically known as Gyps fulvus, and it spreads in southern Russia, the Balkans, northwest Africa, and the Spanish highlands. Its feathers are red from the top and reddish-brown with some white streaks from the bottom, and it has several types, including:


  • The Indian white-backed vulture (English: White-backed vulture) is scientifically known as G.bengalensis.
  • The Indian eagle or the long-billed vulture, known scientifically as G.indicus.
  • The cylindrical-billed vulture (English: Slender-billed vulture): scientifically known as G. tenuirostris, it is one of the eagles whose numbers have decreased dramatically; This is because of the medicines given to livestock to relieve pain, but when these animals die and the vultures eat their carrion, they cause kidney failure.


Lappet-faced vulture or Nubian vulture: scientifically known as Torgos tracheliotus, it lives in Africa, and has a wingspan of 2.7 meters, and its body length is up to one meter, a strong eagle that controls the wind The other during feeding, its feathers from the top are black and brown, and the ventral area is white, and it has a wedge-shaped tail, and its face is pink or red in color, and extends from the sides of its bare head of feathers, a skin with many folds.


Palm-nut vulture: It is known scientifically as Gypohierax angolensis, and it lives in West and Central Africa. Its body length is approximately (50) centimeters, and it has an orange face bare of feathers, and a yellow beak, and it is surprising that it is vegetarian; However, it sometimes eats some crustaceans and dead fish.


Red-headed vulture: scientifically known as Sarcogyps calvus, it lives between Pakistan and Malaysia and has a body length of approximately 75 centimeters, and a wingspan of 2.7 metres. The color of its feathers is black, and at the chest the color of the feathers is white,and it has a huge black beak, and its skin extending from the sides of the neck has multiple folds.


White-headed vulture: It is known scientifically as Trigonoceps occipitalis, and is distinguished by its pale yellow face and triangular shape, and its red beak. Its feathers are black except for the ends of the wings and the abdomen, so the feathers on them are white, the length of its body reaches (80) centimeters, and its wingspan reaches (1.8) meters.


Adaptation of eagles to eat carrion Vultures feed on carrion and rotting meat, which may cause many diseases to other animals and birds, and they often start eating carrion from the anal area, which allows it a natural outlet for the inside of the carcass, and waits for the carcass to penetrate; Which means that the decomposition and rotting of the carcass has reached its extent, and this means that the regular food of the eagle is rich in bacteria, toxic substances and feces, so what protects it from disease?

“Vultures are distinguished by their ability to adapt to the types of toxic bacteria they ingest, as their acidic digestive tracts are chemically qualified to deal with and filter bacteria, on the one hand, the digestive system of vultures is able to destroy most of its deadly bacteria that ingest it,” says Michael Rojnback, a researcher in microbiology at the University of Copenhagen. 


On the other hand, we find that its digestive system has the strength and ability to coexist with types of bacteria that are fatal to many organisms, and these bacteria, in turn, were able to withstand the harsh conditions of the eagle’s gut, not only that, but also contribute to the analysis of nutrients within the gut. Surprisingly, when the bacteria found in the feces of some vultures living in the Copenhagen Zoo, whose diet is similar to the diet of the rest of the raptors in the zoo, was analyzed.

It was found that its excrement contained bacteria similar to that found in the excrement of free eagles that feed on carrion, while it was different from the excrement of birds that share the same diet in the garden.


This raises the idea that the nature of the eagle’s digestive system may have an effect on the contents of the gut bacteria more than that of the eagle’s diet. Previous results indicate that the relationship between bacteria and the digestive process in the eagle is more complex than previously thought.

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