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New World Vultures: Cathartidae

Physical Characteristics, Diet, Behavior And Reproduction, King Vulture (sarcoramphus Papa): Species AccountsGEOGRAPHIC RANGE, HABITAT, NEW WORLD VULTURES AND PEOPLE, CONSERVATION STATUS


New World vultures range from southern Canada to the southern tip of South America. The turkey vulture and the black vulture are the two most common vultures in North and South America, and they are sometimes called buzzards.

These birds can live in almost any habitat, from seashores to deserts to forests, as long as they can find carrion, dead and decaying animals, to eat. All vultures hunt by soaring high and looking down for food. However turkey vultures and yellow-headed vultures have an especially good sense of smell and can sniff out small, dead animals in dense forests without having to see them first.

New World vultures have been important in the myths and legends of people for thousands of years. In South America, pictures of Andean condors have been found on ancient pottery, carvings, and cloth. In North America, vultures were thought of as symbols of death. Many people are fascinated by vultures and like to watch them in action.

California condors are listed as Critically Endangered, which means they are facing an extremely high risk of extinction in the wild. Andean condors are considered Near Threatened, meaning they are close to becoming endangered. Not all vultures are in trouble. In fact, turkey vultures have been spreading northward into Canada for the last thirty years.

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Animal Life ResourceBirds