Friday, January 31, 2014

Vultures - by Nina

Vultures are big creepy birdies with bad table manners. They are carrion-eating raptors and eat pretty much everything you shouldn't eat; rotten flesh, garbage and a few other things I don't want to list, but on the whole as you can tell, they’re lovely birds. And of course they're in the Caribbean.

Vultures seem to eat just about anything

Black Vultures
There are vultures on every continent in the world except Australia and Antarctica, although most of them originate from Africa. It just so happened that our luck brought us to a place where the Black Vultures live – Central America.

The vultures would hang-out on the old forts in Portobelo – they are not pretty birds when on the ground.

They have an approximately 1.5 meter wing span and when there circling up high on up drafts they look like graceful eagles, or falcons.  When there on the ground they like to air there wings, and then they truly magnificent.  Black Vultures are found from the south-east US all the way to central Chile and Uruguay and are fairly small for vultures. We've seen them lots poking around rubbish heaps in Cartagena and Portobelo.

Sometimes they air their impressive wings.  They are great at soaring.

At low tide they pick around the shore-line.

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1 comment:

  1. Hi Nina,

    This was a very interesting and thorough discussion of vultures. I live in an area in Texas where we see them occasionally, when there is a dead cow or something similarly dead and pungent. During my travels I have observed them often. They look a bit gross on first sight, but they are well adapted to their lifestyle. Did you notice that they don't have any feathers on their heads? It's a bit difficult to tell with the black vultures, but some of the other types have red necks and heads, and it becomes clear that they are bald! And why is that? You guessed right: Because they eat such gross things (at least for us humans) and love to stick their heads into carcasses and worse, they would have quite a difficult time keeping their plumage clean as vulture shampoo still has not been invented. So, they are just bald! BTW, the South American Andean Condor also has a bald head, for the same reason--and you guessed right, that bird belongs to the vulture family, too.

    Looking forward to your next blog update!