1 minute read

New World Vultures: Cathartidae

Behavior And Reproduction

Before flying in the morning, New World vultures usually find a sunny spot where they can spread their wings. The sunshine warms their bodies and helps to straighten their flight feathers. They wait until the winds pick up before taking off. They roost together at night and they hunt for food in flocks, but at breeding time they spread out and nest by themselves.

New World vultures usually mate or life. As part of their courtship display, a pair flies high over the nesting area with wingtips almost touching. This may tell neighboring pairs to stay away. Female vultures lay their eggs directly on the ground in the floor of a cave or in a tree hole. The condors and king vultures lay only one egg and other vultures usually lay two. The parents take turn sitting on the eggs and feeding the chicks. Young condors learn to fly at about six months, and the smaller vultures learn by the time they are three months.


Most creatures would get sick or die if they ate the decaying meat that vultures eat. Of course, vultures prefer their meat to be as fresh as possible. But often they have to wait for the predators that killed the animal to go away. Or they have to let dead animals decay for a while before they can tear it apart. Vultures have chemicals in their stomachs that protect them from the germs in their food. So if meat gets rotten while they wait, it's still okay for vultures.

Additional topics

Animal Life ResourceBirdsNew World Vultures: Cathartidae - Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, King Vulture (sarcoramphus Papa): Species Accounts - GEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, NEW WORLD VULTURES AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS