In this post, we focus on vultures. We give you 5 fascinating facts about vultures.
Where do vultures live?
There are many species of vultures in Africa. Each species live in some type of habitat. So, you can find vultures in many places. You can find them in semi-deserts and arid areas. In these areas, you can see hooded and lappet-faced vultures. You can find them in wooded areas. white-headed and white-backed vultures are common in these areas. You can find bearded and cape vultures in mountainous areas.
- They have a pecking order
Vultures are not the most popular animals in the world. They are also not the most beautiful species. But they are unique in their way. When feeding on a carcass, there is an order they follow. The lappet-faced vulture is usually first in line. This bird has a large bill. It uses a strong bill to open up a carcass. It eats the offal parts such as the heart and liver. This exposes the inside part to smaller vultures. The lappet-faced vulture only gives way to Marabou Storks. These are large scavengers found in Africa.
White-headed vultures are a bit shy. Mostly, they eat alone. You will see them walking off with some meat. They are clean feeders. You will not see blood on their feathers. Mostly, they carry bones and ligaments.
Hooded vultures are usually the last to feed. They are the smallest species. They eat tender portions. They use their beaks to get tiny bits of flesh from the carcass. This pecking order is among the 5 fascinating facts about vultures.
- Most species have a naked head
You probably have seen vultures with naked heads. Most species have featherless heads. This is good for hygiene. Vultures enter their head inside a carcass to reach food. Imagine how they would look with feathered heads. The feathers would be soiled.
The naked head also helps vultures to regulate temperatures. They can expose the head to lose heat. They can also hide it to preserve heat. This is one of the interesting facts about vultures.
- They can go for a long without food
Vultures have a throat pouch. It is called a crop. They use it to store food. They can store up to 1 kg of food in this pouch. This is a good adaptation. Remember vultures do not hunt. They wait for other animals to kill prey. Sometimes, food may be scarce. Storing food is a great survival tactic. Most of the time, they will have food to eat at a later time. They can also regurgitate this food to feed their babies. This is one of the 5 fascinating facts about vultures.
Probably, you have heard that vultures do vomit on predators. This is true. The vomit is very smelly. The acidic puke drives predators away. They use the vomit to protect or defend themselves. This is one of the interesting facts about vultures. When they puke, they become lighter. This helps to escape or fly away easily.
- They are fairly silent
Vultures are rarely heard singing or making calls. They growl, snarl, and hiss. This is common while they are eating or during courtship.
- They urinate on their legs
Oh yes! Vultures urinate on their legs. This is one of the 5 fascinating facts about vultures. This behavior helps to cool these beautiful birds. When the urine evaporates, the blood vessels in the feet cool down. This helps to lower body temperatures.
Vultures are Endangered
Vultures are among the endangered animals on earth. Here are some of the reasons;
- Poisoning. This is one of the reasons why the number of vultures is declining. Humans use poison baits to kill animals that eat their livestock. For example, they use poison to target foxes. Sadly, vultures end up eating the dead carcasses.
- Poaching. Some locals use vultures’ heads in traditional medicine. Poachers are hunting the animals to see their heads.
- Illegal killing. Some bad people enjoy shooting vultures. This illegal act is a danger to these protected species.
- Collision. Sometimes vultures are unable to see power lines or cables. They end up colliding.
- Electrocution. Some vultures touch wires while landing or flying. They end up dying from electric shocks.
- Vet drugs. This is not intentional poisoning of vultures. The birds die from eating dead animals that had been treated with some drugs.
- Lack of enough food. Changes in the disposal of dead animals have reduced food for the vultures. This has played a role in reducing their population.
Vultures play an important role in the ecosystem. They do a great job of clearing rotten carcasses. This prevents the outbreak of diseases. Don’t worry about the risk of eating the carcasses. Vultures have special acids that reduce any risk. The acid dissolves cholera bacteria and anthrax. By eating the carcasses, vultures keep our environment healthy. This is good for us humans, livestock, and other wild animals. So, we must protect vultures. Imagine a world without vultures! You can help with their conservation. You can help to tag them for proper monitoring. You can also donate to conservation organizations.
Now you know 5 fascinating facts about vultures. You can see these animals in many places in Africa. Do you want to learn more about the stunning African wildlife? Subscribe to our blog. We have many useful articles. The more you know about African wildlife, the better the adventure.