So awhile back, when I was taking a tour guide course, the instructor told us to pick any favorite bird and make a presentation. Most went up and presented about a pretty bird until one went up and said ” Well I like the Vulture, because its cleans ups the Environment” and very much true.
Most commonly in vultures you would see, Black-Headed Vulture (black vulture) Turkey Vulture, and some times the Great King Vultures. What you would rarely see is the Lesser- Yellow-headed Vulture. Luckily I came out at the right time when a field was ploughed and saw this one feeding.
The Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture (Cathartes burrovianus) also known as the Savannah Vulture, is a species of bird in the New World Vulture family Cathartidae. It was considered to be the same species as the Greater Yellow-headed Vulture until they were split in 1964. It is found in Mexico, Central America, and South America in seasonally wet or flooded lowland grassland, swamps, and heavily degraded former forest. It is a large bird, with a wingspan of 150–165 centimeters (59–65 in). The body plumage is black, and the head and neck, which are featherless, are pale orange with red or blue areas. It lacks a syrinx, so therefore its vocalizations are limited to grunts or low hisses.
The Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture feeds on carrion and locates carcasses by sight and by smell, an ability which is rare in birds. It is dependent on larger vultures, such as the King Vulture, to open the hides of larger animal carcasses as its bill is not strong enough to do this. Like other New World Vultures, the Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture utilizes thermals to stay aloft with minimal effort. It lays its eggs on flat surfaces, such as the floors of caves, or in the hollows of stumps. It feeds its young by regurgitation.
Ecology and behavior.
Although vultures are generally fairly solitary animals, groups of vultures are often seen circling prey from the sky above. This movement of the vultures is called a kettle and a group of vultures together is sometimes known as a venue.
Vultures have keen eyesight. It is believed they are able to spot a three-foot carcass from four miles away on the open plains. In some species, when an individual sees a carcass it begins to circle above it. This draws the attention of other vultures that then join in. The feces of the vulture contains strong acids that kill many of the bacteria commonly associated with bird feces. Because of their diet, these birds are able to kill harmful bacteria and viruses with their stomach acids, and halt the potential spread of disease from rotting carcasses.
They get their name from a Latin word, vellere, which means “to tear.”