Vulture Facts



  • Vultures and condors are the biggest birds of prey. They do not hunt, but feed on carrion.
  • The palmnut vulture is the only vegetarian bird of prey, and it feeds on oil nuts.
  • Many vultures are bald, with no head feathers to mat with blood when digging into corpses.
  • The seven species of New World vulture (those that live in the Americas) have a nostril hole right through their beak.
  • A vulture closes in to feed on a dead animal.
  • The Andean condor holds the bird world record for wingspan. And it can spot a dead sheep from 5 km away.
  • The Californian condor is very rare. All the wild ones were captured in the mid 1980s, but some have since been bred in captivity and returned to the wild.
  • Vultures are great fliers and spend hours soaring, scanning the ground for corpses with sharp eyes.
  • Condors have such a sharp sense of smell that they can pinpoint a corpse under a thick forest canopy.
  • Vultures have such weak bills that flesh must be rotten before they can eat it.
  • The lammergeier is known as the bearded vulture because it has a beard of black bristles on its chin.
  • The Andean condor is the world’s biggest flying bird, with a wingspan of 3 m or more.