Jan 10, 2010 – Vultures circle overhead – John Lund / Getty Images
Vultures are scavenging birds, feeding mostly on the carcasses of dead animals. Vultures are found on every continent except Antarctica, Australia and Oceania.
Vultures do not use their feet to kill their prey and so have gone back and forth between being classified as a raptor or a non-raptor, and have gone through extensive DNA testing to test the relationships.
Vultures are scavengers. A particular characteristic of many vultures is a bald head, devoid of feathers. This helps to keep the head clean when feeding. Research has shown that the bare skin may play an important role in thermoregulation.
A group of vultures is called a wake, committee, or venue . The word Geier (taken from the German language) does not have a precise meaning in ornithology, and it is occasionally used to refer to a vulture in English, as in some poetry.