Do Vultures Hunt?

We all know vultures eat dead carrion

But do they hunt too?

Or are they opportunist and wait for an animal to die before they swoop in and eat it

That’s exactly what we will be discussing in this article

Sound interesting?


Let’s get started

Do Vultures Hunt? 

Vultures are meat-lover birds, but the answer to this question is a big “NO”.

Their physical attributes do not support their hunting.

They have huge wings which helps them soar high in the sky, but they do not have strong, sharp claws that could help them hunt and hunt down a prey

They have flat feet which means they cannot capture a prey like other predator birds.

This means they do not hunt rather they depend on the sick/dying or already dead animals

Do Vultures Eat Animals?

Regarding food, vultures are carnivorous birds and love carcasses (dead meat).

However, they prey on small (wounded, sick or dying) birds/animals also.

It would be very rare for a vulture to attack a healthy animal.

Around the seashores are considered the only obligate scavengers as they eat up the decaying dead bodies of fish and other animals.

But they do not eat the meat which is more than a few days old or which is very decayed.

They would never give up on carcass until the last bit of flesh even if they start vomiting out of overeating.

Vultures would tear apart the animal, from the smallest rat to a huge animal with its big, ruthless, sharp beak.

Related article – Do vultures eat live animals?

Do Vultures Eat Meat?

Vultures are flesh-lover birds, but predominantly they rely on the carrion of animals or birds.

They do not attack healthy ones, and this is the feature that distinguishes vultures from other bird families.

Amongst the birds of prey, vultures are closer to storks than any other.

Vultures like to eat freshly dead animals/birds (not older than a few days) before it’s rotten and putrid.

They feud over carcass and will never give up until there’s literally just bones left

Some species of vultures can even eat small bones which they would take to their young fledglings to feed them.

They have highly acidic stomachs, which prevent them from food poisoning from decayed meat (dead flesh).

Are Vultures Friendly?

Vultures are vulnerable which means they are pretty much harmless

They love to dine on carrions and garbage, and it’s safe to say that they are a natural source of garbage disposal.

They can be accommodating for removing human and animal waste from our towns.

They do not have such dangerous physical attributes that could pose any threat.

They have no incentive to attack humans or even healthy animals.

But their weird traits and gross dietary preferences don’t make them an ideal pet, although they could be.

Some folks who have raised a vulture say they are pretty playful and adventurous.

They do recognise and love their owner.

But suppose they are attempted to be teased or pushed away from their favourite carcass treat for no reason then in that case, a vulture will spew projectile vomit on the percieved threat which is their only defensive mechanism and the extent of their aggressive behaviour.

Otherwise they are pretty harmless

Related article – Do vultures attack humans?

Are Vultures Intelligent?

There is no credible answer to this question, but they are considered less intelligent than the birds’ families they belong to.

Vultures closely belong to the hawk and eagles family but are not as wise as their ancestors are — hawks and eagles are marginally brighter in intelligence compared to vultures.

Although not so brilliant, they offer public services as nature’s vacuum cleaners because they thrive on garbage, filth and wastage of humans and animals.

Without vultures, deadly diseases would have spread more intensely

They are good for the environment

I go into more detail in my article – Are vultures intelligent?

Wrapping Up

Vultures belong to the Hawks and eagles family but are not as intelligent.

They are pretty vulnerable and do not hunt for themselves.

Vultures depend on the remnants of carcasses and carrions for their food necessities.

Unlike other birds, vultures have a more brilliant sense of smell and sight and can locate their food from miles away.

Once they spot their food, they swoop down immediately.

They squabble over their favourite food and never give up until the last bit of flesh.

They are highly sociable with humans and never attempt to attack humans or any other healthy animal or bird.

But if they are disturbed for no reason, they would spit dirty vomit on the attacker.

They are nature’s cleaning agents and environment-friendly birds which prevent humans from deadly diseases which could spread more intensely out of decaying dead bodies of animals and birds.

Being much heavier due to overeating, they are unable to fly.

So they rest on the ground in a group until they digest it.

Due to their bizarre food habits, vultures are not much-loved pets.

Interesting Facts About Vultures

Among the family of carnivore birds, the Vulture is an interesting bird due to its somewhat bizarre traits. It won’t be out of place to say that they are predominantly scavengers —  the anti-heroes of our ecosystem. Let’s have a look into the vulture culture — it could be more weird than impressive.

Species — Almost 22 identified living species of vultures are found currently in North and South America, Africa, Europe and Asia.

Appearance — Those species are not exactly the same in all aspects, but they share many resemblances regarding appearance, habits and traits. Vultures have a bald head, long bald neck, big sharp beaks, broad & heavy wings, and most of them have their feet (poorly adapted for grasping) covered in feathers.

Behaviour — Vultures are relatively lazy and silent birds. They only hiss, rumble or snarl.

Vulture flock names — Vultures live in flocks, and their flocks are named differently according to their state; for example, the flying flock is named “kettle”, the eating flock is called “wake”, and the flock resting on the ground is termed “committee”.

Temperature regulation — To manage their body temperature according to the season, vultures crouch their necks and snug their heads to their bodies in cold weather. They stretch out their necks and spread their wings in hot temperatures to get more air.

Distinct features —  Their bald head helps diffuse the excess heat from their bodies and prevents the feathers from being contaminated with blood.

Vultures urinate on themselves to keep their bodies from excess heat and wipe away the bacteria or parasites from their bodies.

Food — Vultures are carnivorous, and predominantly they scavenge on carrion. They can smell their food even from heights and miles away.

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