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Encyclopedia > Vulture
Wikipedia:How to read a taxobox
How to read a taxobox
Vultures
Griffon vulture, Gyps fulvus
Griffon vulture, Gyps fulvus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Orders

Falconiformes (Fam. Accipitridae (part))
Ciconiiformes (Fam. Cathartidae) Image File history File linksMetadata Download high resolution version (2336x2336, 4052 KB) Summary Licensing File links The following pages on the English Wikipedia link to this file (pages on other projects are not listed): Beak User:Thermos Metadata This file contains additional information, probably added from the digital camera or... Binomial name Gyps fulvus Hablizl, 1783 The Griffon Vulture, Gyps fulvus is an Old World vulture in the family Accipitridae, which also includes eagles, kites, buzzards and hawks. ... Scientific classification or biological classification is a method by which biologists group and categorize species of organisms. ... “Animalia” redirects here. ... Typical Classes See below Chordates (phylum Chordata) are a group of animals that includes the vertebrates, together with several closely related invertebrates. ... “Aves” redirects here. ... Families Accipitridae Pandionidae Falconidae Sagittariidae The order Falconiformes is a group of about 290 species of birds that include the diurnal birds of prey. ... Subfamilies Elaninae Perninae Milvinae Accipitrinae Buteoninae Aegypiinae Circinae Circaetinae The Accipitridae is one of the two main families within the order Falconiformes (the diurnal birds of prey). ... Families Ardeidae Cochlearidae (the Boat-billed Heron) Balaenicipitidae (the Shoebill) Scopidae (the Hammerkop) Ciconiidae Threskiornithidae Cathartidae Traditionally, the order Ciconiiformes has included a variety of large, long-legged wading birds with large bills: storks, herons, egrets, ibises, spoonbills, and several others. ... Genera Cathartes Coragyps Gymnogyps Sarcorhamphus The New World vulture family Cathartidae contains seven species found in North and South America. ...

Griffon Vulture soaring
Griffon Vulture soaring

Vultures are scavenging birds, feeding mostly on the carcasses of dead animals. Vultures are found in every continent except Antarctica and Oceania. Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 800 × 577 pixelsFull resolution (1013 × 731 pixel, file size: 111 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) This is a cropped version of another image on wiki commons, both will be useful. ... Image File history File linksMetadata Size of this preview: 800 × 577 pixelsFull resolution (1013 × 731 pixel, file size: 111 KB, MIME type: image/jpeg) This is a cropped version of another image on wiki commons, both will be useful. ... For a person who scavenges, see Waste picker. ... “Aves” redirects here. ... “Animalia” redirects here. ... World map exhibiting a common interpretation of Oceania; other interpretations may vary. ...


A particular characteristic of many vultures is a bald head, devoid of feathers. This is likely because a feathered head would become spattered with blood and other fluids, and thus be difficult to keep clean. For other uses of the word head, see head (disambiguation). ... Two feathers Feathers are one of the epidermal growths that form the distinctive outer covering, or plumage, on birds. ... Human blood smear: a - erythrocytes; b - neutrophil; c - eosinophil; d - lymphocyte. ...


A group of vultures is occasionally called a venue in literature. When circling in the air, a group of vultures is called a kettle. The German word Geier does not have a precise meaning in ornithology, and is sometimes used to refer to a vulture in English, as in some poetry. Geier is a German word for vulture, also understood to refer to the Biblical gyrfalcon, generally recognized as a distinct species of carrion-eating bird whose range includes the whole of Europe and the western part of Asia. ... Ornithology (from the Greek ornis = bird and logos = word/science) is the branch of zoology concerned with the scientific study of birds. ...

Contents

Classification

Vultures are classified into two groups: Old World vultures and New World vultures. The similarities between the two groups are due to convergent evolution rather than a close relationship. In evolutionary biology, convergent evolution is the process whereby organisms not closely related, independently evolve similar traits as a result of having to adapt to similar environments or ecological niches. ...


Old World vultures

Main article: Old World vulture

The Old World vultures found in Africa, Asia and Europe belong to the family Accipitridae, which also includes eagles, kites, buzzards and hawks. Old World vultures find carcasses exclusively by sight. Genera See text. ... Genera See text. ... A world map showing the continent of Africa Africa is the worlds second-largest and second most-populous continent, after Asia. ... World map showing the location of Asia. ... World map showing the location of Europe. ... Subfamilies Elaninae Perninae Milvinae Accipitrinae Buteoninae Aegypiinae Circinae Circaetinae The Accipitridae is one of the two main families within the order Falconiformes (the diurnal birds of prey). ... Genera Several, see below. ... Genera Milvinae    Harpagus    Ictinia    Rostrhamus    Haliastur    Milvus    Lophoictinia    Hamirostra Elaninae    Elanus    Chelictinia    Machaerhamphus    Gampsonyx    Elanoides Kites are raptors with long wings and weak legs which spend a great deal of time soaring. ... A buzzard is one of several large birds, but there are a number of meanings as detailed below. ... Genera Accipiter Micronisus Melierax Urotriorchis Erythrotriorchis The term hawk refers to birds of prey in any of three senses: Strictly, to mean any of the species in the bird sub-family Accipitrinae in the genera Accipiter, Micronisus, Melierax, Urotriorchis, and Megatriorchis. ...


New World vultures

Main article: New World vulture

The New World vultures and condors found in warm and temperate areas of the Americas are not closely related to the superficially similar Accipitridae, but belong in the family Cathartidae, which is quite close to the storks. Several species have a good sense of smell, unusual for raptors. Genera Cathartes Coragyps Gymnogyps Sarcorhamphus The New World vulture family Cathartidae contains seven species found in North and South America. ... Genera Cathartes Coragyps Gymnogyps Sarcorhamphus The New World vulture family Cathartidae contains seven species found in North and South America. ... Genera Vultur Gymnogyps Condor is the name for two species of New World vultures, each in a monotypic genus. ... World map showing the Americas CIA political map of the Americas The Americas are the lands of the Western hemisphere or New World consisting of the continents of North America[1], Central America and South America with their associated islands and regions. ... Genera Cathartes Coragyps Gymnogyps Sarcorhamphus The New World vulture family Cathartidae contains seven species found in North and South America. ... Genera Mycteria Anastomus Ciconia Ephippiorhynchus Jabiru Leptoptilos The storks are large, long-legged, long-necked wading birds with long stout bills. ... Orders Accipitriformes     Cathartidae     Pandionidae     Accipitridae     Sagittariidae Falconiformes     Falconidae A bird of prey or raptor is a bird that hunts its food, especially one that preys on mammals or other birds. ...


Feeding

Some members of both the old and new world vultures have an unfeathered neck and head, shown as radiating heat in this thermographic image.
Some members of both the old and new world vultures have an unfeathered neck and head, shown as radiating heat in this thermographic image.

Vultures seldom attack healthy animals, but may kill the wounded or sick. Vast numbers have been seen upon battlefields. They gorge themselves when prey is abundant, till their crop bulges, and sit, sleepy or half torpid, to digest their food. They do not carry food to their young in their claws, but disgorge it from the crop. These birds are of great value as scavengers, especially in hot regions. They can eat rotten flesh containing anthrax, botulism, and cholera bacteria, which are destroyed in the stomach [1]. Image File history File links Wiki_vulture2. ... Image File history File links Wiki_vulture2. ... The crop is a thin-walled expanded portion of the alimentary tract used for the storage of food prior to digestion that is found in many animals, including earthworms, leeches, insects, and birds. ... Botulism (from the Latin word botulus) is a rare, but serious paralytic illness caused by a nerve toxin, botulin, that is produced by the bacterium Clostridium botulinum. ... Cholera (frequently called Asiatic cholera or epidemic cholera) is a severe diarrheal disease caused by the bacterium Vibrio cholerae. ...


Threat due to diclofenac poisoning

The vulture population in India and Pakistan has declined by up to 95% recently in the past decade, and two or three of the species of vulture in South Asia are nearing extinction. This has been caused by the practice of giving working farm animals diclofenac, which is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) with anti-inflammatory and pain killing actions. Diclofenac administration keeps animals that are ill or in pain working on the land for longer, but, if the ill animals die, their carcasses contain diclofenac. Farmers leave the dead animals out in the open, relying on vultures to tidy up. Diclofenac present in carcass flesh is eaten by the vultures, but unfortunately vultures are very sensitive to diclofenac and suffer kidney failure, visceral gout, and death as a result of diclofenac poisoning. Diclofenac (marketed as Voltaren®, Voltarol®, Diclon®, Dicloflex® Difen and Cataflam®) is a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) taken to reduce inflammation and an analgesic reducing pain in conditions such as in arthritis or acute injury. ... Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, usually abbreviated to NSAIDs, are drugs with analgesic, antipyretic and anti-inflammatory effects - they reduce pain, fever and inflammation. ... Visceral gout is a disease of birds in which kidney failure causes a build-up or urates in the internal organs, leaving a chalky white coating on them. ... The skull and crossbones symbol (Jolly Roger) traditionally used to label a poisonous substance. ...


The decline in vultures has led to hygiene problems in India as carcasses of dead animals now tend to rot, or be eaten by rats or wild dogs, rather than be tidied up by vultures. Rabies among these scavengers is a major health threat. India has the world's highest rate of rabies.


The decline in vultures causes particular problems for certain communities, such as the Parsi, who practice sky burials, where the human dead are put on the top of Towers of Silence and are eaten by vultures, leaving only dry bones. A Parsi (Gujarati: Pārsī, IPA: ), sometimes spelled Parsee, is a member of the close-knit Zoroastrian community based in the Indian subcontinent. ... Sky burial is a ritual practice common in Tibet that involves placing the body of the deceased in a high ground (mountain) and expose it ritually, especially to birds of prey. ... A late 19th century engraving of a Zoroastrian Tower of Silence in Mumbai. ...


Meloxicam (another NSAID) has been found to be harmless to vultures and should prove an acceptable alternative to diclofenac. The Government of India banned diclofenac, but it continues to be sold over a year later and is still a problem in other parts of the world.[2] Meloxicam is a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug used to relieve the symptoms of arthritis, primary dysmenorrhoea, pyrexia; and as an analgesic, especially where there is an inflammatory component. ...


Vultures in culture

Ancient Egypt

In Southern Africa, the name for a Nubian vulture is synonymous with the term applied to lovers, because these vultures are always seen in pairs, mother and child remaining closely bonded together. Pairing, bonding, protecting, and loving are essential attributes associated with the vulture's size and its ability to soar high up in the sky. The Egyptians considered the vulture an excellent mother, and its wide wingspan was seen as all-encompassing and providing a protective cover to its infants. The vulture hieroglyph Binomial name Torgos tracheliotus (Forster, 1791) The Lappet-faced Vulture or Nubian Vulture, Torgos tracheliotus is an African Old World vulture belonging to the bird order Accipitriformes, which also includes eagles, kites, buzzards and hawks. ... Love is any of a number of emotions and experiences related to a sense of strong affection or profound oneness. ... A section of the Papyrus of Ani showing cursive hieroglyphs. ...

was the uniliteral sign used for the glottal sound (3) including words such as mother, prosperous, grandmother, and ruler The Egyptian hieroglyphic script contained 24 uniliterals (symbols that stood for single consonants, much like English letters) which today we associate with the 26 glyphs listed below. ...


In the Western world, the image of the vulture is far more negative, with 'vulture' used as a metaphor for those who prey on the weak or dying, with associated negative connotations of cowardice and selfishness (although the vulture plays an important natural role).


References

  • Ferguson-Lees, Christie, Franklin, Mead and Burton Raptors of the World ISBN 0713680261
  • Grimmett, Inskipp and Inskipp, Birds of India ISBN 0-691-04910-6
  • Hilty, Birds of Venezuela, ISBN 0-7136-6418-5
  • Ian Sinclair, Phil Hockey and Warwick Tarboton, SASOL Birds of Southern Africa (Struik 2002) ISBN 1-86872-721-1
  • NSAID effects on vultures (BBC website)
  • "India's Vultures Fall Prey to a Drug in the Cattle They Feed On", New York Times, Amelia Gentleman, March 28, 2006.

External links

  • Vulture videos on the Internet Bird Collection

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