New World vulture

New World vultures
Temporal range: PaleoceneHolocene,
Large black bird with red, unfeathered head, perched on a rock and sitting looking to right of cameraman
Turkey vulture
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Cathartidae
Lafresnaye, 1839


Approximate Cathartidae range map
  Summer-only range of turkey vulture 
  At least one species present year-round
  • Vulturidae Illiger, 1811

The New World vulture or condor family, Cathartidae, contains seven extant species in five genera. It includes five extant vultures and two extant condors found in warm and temperate areas of the Americas. The "New World" vultures were widespread in both the Old World and North America during the Neogene.

Old World vultures and New World vultures do not form a single clade, but the two groups are similar in appearance due to convergent evolution.

Vultures are scavenging birds, feeding mostly from carcasses of dead animals without apparent ill effects. Some species of New World vulture have a good sense of smell, whereas Old World vultures find carcasses exclusively by sight. A particular characteristic of many vultures is a bald head, devoid of feathers.

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