A vulture is a bird of prey that scavenges on carrion. There are 23 extant species of vulture (including Condors). Old World vultures include 16 living species native to Europe, Africa, and Asia; New World vultures are restricted to North and South America and consist of seven identified species, all belonging to the Cathartidae family A particular characteristic of many vultures is a bald head, devoid of feathers. This bare skin is thought to keep the head clean when feeding, and also plays an important role in thermoregulation.
Temporal range: Miocene – Recent
|Lammergeier at Alpenzoo, Innsbruck, Austria|
|Black vulture in Panama|
Vultures have been observed to hunch their bodies and tuck in their heads in the cold, and open their wings and stretch their necks in the heat. They also urinate on themselves as a means of cooling their bodies.