New World Vultures Cathartidae

Class: Aves Order: Ciconiiformes Family: Cathartidae Number of species: 7 species

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PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

The vultures living in the New World, North and South America, generally have dark black, brown, and gray feathers. However condors and king vultures also have some white feathers. The color of the skin on the birds' bare heads and necks are combinations of gray, red, blue, and yellow. The birds weigh between 2.1 pounds and 33 pounds (0.94 and 15 kilograms). The length of the birds in this family ranges from 23 to 53 inches (58 to 134 centimeters) from their beaks to the end of their tails.

Until recently, New World vultures were grouped with hawks as birds of prey. But scientists have found that these vultures are more similar to storks than they are to hawks. For example, their feet are weak like storks, and they do not have the strong, grasping claws that hawks use to catch live animals.

GEOGRAPHIC RANGE

New World vultures range from southern Canada to the southern tip of South America. The turkey vulture and the black vulture are the two most common vultures in North and South America, and they are sometimes called buzzards.

HABITAT

These birds can live in almost any habitat, from seashores to deserts to forests, as long as they can find carrion, dead and decaying animals, to eat. All vultures hunt by soaring high and looking down for food. However turkey vultures and yellow-headed phylum class subclass order monotypic order suborder family

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