When we talk about scavenging birds, many of us think of the vulture, or customarily called the buzzard. This article is dedicated to these fearsome wild animals. We will look at the characteristics, habitat, food, reproduction, predators, and relevant information about these wild desert animals. Although they are not very loved, we can find fascinating qualities in them.
Characteristics of the Vulture
This is a characteristically scavenging bird, and you can always see hundreds of them in places where there are dead animals, or in garbage cans. It is large, with open wings can reach 1.52 meters. They are diurnal animals, with a frightening and mysterious appearance. Taking an average, males usually weigh 2 kilos; females are heavier, reaching a weight of 2.7 kilos.
Their plumage is black, but they do not have feathers in the neck, head, and legs, which gives them a somewhat unpleasant appearance, in addition to the fact that their skin is grayish and rough. Its beak is curved and with a very sharp tip, perfect for tearing the skin. In addition to its claws are also very powerful, with which it can carry parts of its prey in them.
This bird has the particularity that it is one of the few birds that have a good sense of smell. They can detect ethanethiol, which is the smell or gas released by decomposing animals; whether in a bag or covered by soil or branches, these birds can locate the dead animal in a short time and at great distances.
In addition to not having a syrinx, which is the vocal organ of birds, so it does not emit massive sounds, but hisses and whistles of low frequency.
This bird has an extensive distribution can be seen throughout America; being a bird very famous for its eating habits. As for the habitat as such can be found in grasslands, swamps, savannas, but especially these wild animals are desert, there have high chances of getting corpse due to the harsh climate and living conditions that exist.
However, it is also prevalent to see it in places populated by humans, such as rural areas and garbage dumps; the latter are the favorite places because they give their big banquets of waste.
What does it eat?
Throughout the article, we were able to give you some information about their diet. You may already have noticed that these animals are scavengers by nature. However, in addition to this, they eat the small offspring and the eggs of other animals, such as birds, turtles, or lizards. However, this animal can also eat other foods such as rotting vegetables and fruits.
As it is characteristic of the birds, they reproduce of oviparous form. The ritual of courtship is to fly in circles, and when they go down to earth, they make specific movements walking around the female. The vulture does not build its nests, and it merely positions the eggs in some bush or holes in the trees, or caves; even in urban areas, they can be seen nesting in abandoned buildings. Vultures breed once a year.
Once they have the eggs, the incubation lasts up to 41 days, and it is a task performed by both the female and the male. They usually have 2 eggs. When the hatchlings remain in the nest for 2 months, being fed by the parents, who regurgitate the food. After 75 days the chicks start to fly, although they still depend on the parents in some ways.
The vultures have several predators, but the human is the main one when considering them a plague they exterminate them. In addition to them, the felines look for them to hunt in times of droughts and famine. Moreover, the hyenas attack them to remove the carrion.
Relevant information about Vulture
Despite their appearance, these birds play a vital role in our ecosystem, as they feed on carrion, eliminating the remains of decomposing animals, which avoids the spread of diseases.
A vast and somewhat unpleasant curiosity of these birds is that they are one of those that have a behavior that is called urohydrosis. This consists of defecating and urinating on their legs as a cooling mechanism. This serves them well in habitats such as the desert in order to stay calm.
For the vultures, it is straightforward to stay in the air for hours, as they fly in circles taking advantage of thermal currents.
The stomach of the vulture contains a highly corrosive acid, this allows them to consume rotten and decomposing food containing diseases and bacteria such as anthrax, butolinic toxin, and swine cholera, without killing them, which in other scavengers would be lethal.