Do Vultures Live In The Desert?

Vultures are flesh-lover birds, but they do not prey for living.

Instead, they depend on carrions (remnants of carcasses) and consume the last bit of flesh.

Categorically vultures have been classified as “old world vultures” and “new world vultures“.

All world vultures share many alikenesses in physical appearance, strength and habitat preferences.

In this article, we will discuss their habitat preferences and differences based on their types that make them distinct from the other species within their family of old world vultures and new world vultures.

Are Vultures In The Desert?

Vultures are found worldwide except in Australia and Antarctica.

They live in open countryside areas, nest in tall trees, or on the ground in groups.

They do not build nests except for a few species of old-world vultures; their nest is merely a platform of sticks.

They live in colonies on tall trees or natural cavities of cliffs and lay eggs in uncovered scrapes. 

Similarly, they are found in deserts also and have unique characteristics for the desert habitat.

They like to live in hot locales and ride over thermals which helps them glide and soar in the heights from where they can view far and wide to locate their food.

They also follow the herds of migrating mammals perceiving them to be a plentiful source of food in future.

Species of the old world vultures that can be encountered in desert and plains habitats of Africa (Southern Sahara), southern Mali, Niger, Chad, and southern Asia, are:

Where Do Most Vultures Live?

Vultures are frequently found in hollow trees, thickets, caves, empty buildings, open plains, deserts, etc.

They have been encountered in the tropics and subtropics of all continents except Australia and Antarctica.

They favour comparatively warmer locales because thermals help them fly higher to have a broader view of the area to locate their food.

Some of the species are migratory and tend to follow the migrating herds of mammals, hoping it will be a good feast for several days.

Most northern vulture populations migrate due to unstable climates and a lack of food sources.

While Southern vultures prefer to live in the same area throughout the year. 

Due to the moderate climate and constant food sources around, most  vultures won’t need to migrate.

Where are vultures found?

Vultures — large carrion-consuming birds are found worldwide, apart from Australia and most of the oceanic islands.

Since they consume dead bodies and garbage, they are rightly said to be a cleaning crew for our environment.

Vultures are found where the climate is relatively warmer, and there is plenty of food around.

Although they are no nesting colonials, they could still make any hollow tree, abandoned building, a cavity of a cliff their home readily.

The black vultures are frequently found in Southern Europe, Central Steppes, and Asia Minor.

Egyptian Vultures are commonly found in Northern and Eastern Africa, the Middle East, Afghanistan, Southern Europe, and India.

Common griffons (Eurasian griffon) are usually found in Balkans Highlands, Southern Russia, Northwest Africa, and the Spanish.

Do Vultures Live In The Sahara Desert?

The Sahara desert, located in North Africa, is the third largest hot dessert in the world.

As mentioned earlier, vultures prefer living in warmer climates, so they are not uncommon in desserts.

The Sahara Desert is considered a land-based barrier on Earth and a route for migratory birds (including vultures), which cross twice yearly.

Twenty years of research on emerging threats to vultures globally indicates that many desert species of vultures are on the verge of extinction.

Responsible for this plight of vultures are the loss of natural habitats, pesticides, and veterinary drugs used in cattle livestock, escalation in human population, the agricultural and developmental projects etc.

Six species of vultures have been declared as critically endangered according to the IUCN red list, which are:

What Animals Live In Deserts?

Desert climate

Deserts are 1/3rd of the land on earth, and the Sahara desert in North Africa is the largest and hottest desert in the world, covering 9.4 million square kilometres.

And Gobi desert in China is the coldest desert covering 1.3 million square kilometres.

Deserts are usually devoid of life and are not apt for habitation due to lack of rainfall (250mm per year or less), food and living accommodations.

Desert temperatures can be extreme during the days and nights according to the season.

Still, several animals can survive in such circumstances.

Those animals are adapted to living in such locales and regulate their body temperatures comfortably by conserving water in their stomachs. 

Animals who can survive in deserts

Despite the extreme climate, there’s a long list of reptiles, insects and mammals adapted to deal with the weather extremes of the desert. 

1- Many small animals like insects, reptiles, wolf spiders, black widow spiders,  tarantula, scorpion, rattlesnakes, fennec fox, Gecko, gerbil, iguana, kangaroo rat are nocturnal, and they hide underground all day long to escape the scorching weather and emerge at night.

2- Bigger animals like Bactrian camel, bats, llama,  jackrabbit, bighorn sheep, bobcat, gazelles and donkeys are adapted to survive longer without water.

3- Greater roadrunner, cactus wren, burrowing owls, osprey, costa’s hummingbird, Gambel’s quail, Scott’s oriole, cooper’s hawk, bearded vulture, Egyptian vulture, golden eagle are examples of birds adapted to living in desserts.

Wrapping Up

Vultures are big prey birds, known as scavengers and they are the cleaning crew for our environment by consuming carrions and garbage.

Based on their appearance and adaptations, they have been classified as old-world vultures and new-world vultures.

They have been the most common prey bird worldwide, but now they are undergoing dramatic decline due to the increasing population of humans, different developmental projects, medications and pesticides used to treat livestock etc.

Some species of vultures are also adapted to living in the arid climates of deserts too.


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