Vultures; My love/hate relationship with the black vulture

Did you know…

…there are vultures on all but 2 continents? The term ‘vulture’ is a general term used to describe a large, feathered carrion eater. There are two families, the Old World Vultures, family Accipitridae, found in Africa, Europe and Asia (this family also includes hawks and eagles) and the New World species, family Cathartidae, found only in North and South America.

Vultures may be well represented worldwide but not every country has these massive carrion eating masterpieces. The UK, for one, has no breeding populations of vultures (sometimes the Bearded Vulture will make an appearance exciting even the most seasoned birder, but they don’t stay long. Apparently there just isn’t enough for them to eat).

North Carolina has 2 native vultures, the American Black and the Turkey vulture. The lamb/calf attacking American Black has a black, featherless head while the larger, cuter, non lamb/calf attacking Turkey vulture has a bright red featherless head. Both species gather in large groups to sleep (often together) but the American Black forages/hunts in packs while the Turkey vulture eats alone.

There are three term