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Encyclopedia > Cathartidae

New World vultures

Turkey Vulture in a tree
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Accipitriformes
Family: Cathartidae


The New World vulture family Cathartidae contains seven species found in North and South America. It includes five vultures and two condors.

New World vultures are not closely related to Old World vultures or other diurnal raptors, which are often classified in different orders. They resemble Old World vultures because of convergent evolution.

The five species of vulture are:

The Condors are

There is some debate over the scientific names of the Condors.

  Results from FactBites:
III Cathartidae Accipitrinae I Pandioninae Falconidae Sagittariidae Stresemann and Amadon 1979 Cathartidae Accipitrinae Falconinae Pandionidae Strigidae Sagittariidae Cracraft 1981 Cathartidae Ciconiidae Accipitridae Pandionidae Sagittariidae Falconidae Sibley and Ahlquist 1990 Fig.
The curvature of the pelvic girdle is described by Ligon as having a slight angle above the antitrochanter in the Ciconi- idae and Cathartidae, and a 45 ø angle in the Accipitridae.
Similarly, the lo- cation of the anterior iliac crest is intermediate in the Cathartidae compared to the other two families, as is the crossing of the coracoidal sul- ci, the shape of the ilioischiatic fenestra, and the angle at which the bicipital crest joins the humeral shaft.
Falconiformes - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (381 words)
However, in Europe, it has become common to split the order into two: the falcons and caracaras remain in the order Falconiformes (about 60 species in 4 groups), while the remaining 220-odd species (including the Accipitridae—eagles, hawks, and many others) are placed in the separate order Accipitriformes.
The American Ornithologist's Union leaves Falconidae and Accipitridae in Falconiformes, but places the New World vultures (family Cathartidae) with the storks in Ciconiiformes following the influential Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy, in which all the raptors are placed into Ciconiiformes, but the Cathartids are considered to be outside the lineage that includes other raptors.
The idea that Falconiformes should be divided into many orders, is because of the suggestion that the order may not share a single lineage that is exclusive of other birds, and the most controversial suggestion is that Cathartidae are not Falconiformes but are related to the storks, in the separate order, Ciconiiformes.
  More results at FactBites »



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