Skip to Content

Cathartidae – New World Vultures

Greater Yellow-headed Vulture in Brazil: Photo by Graichen

Welcome to the world of Cathartidae, where scavengers reign supreme. These birds, commonly known as New World vultures, play a vital role in ecosystems by cleaning up carrion. With their keen sense of smell and impressive wingspans, they soar effortlessly across the skies, searching for their next meal. Despite their intimidating appearance, these birds are essential for maintaining the balance of nature, disposing of carcasses and preventing the spread of disease.

Overview of Cathartidae

From the graceful, soaring arcs of turkey vultures to the majestic, expansive wings of Earth’s largest avian gliders, the scavengers of Cathartidae demonstrate unparalleled mastery of energy-efficient flight. With the ability to traverse vast distances without a single flap, they navigate the skies with precision, utilizing subtle air currents to remain airborne for extended periods. Often lingering near carrion, they exercise caution before descending, ensuring the safety of their feast and avoiding potential threats. Depending on their hunting preferences, some rely on keen vision while others harness their acute sense of smell to locate their next meal.