They may not be the prettiest birds, but vultures are one of the most important feathered friends a habitatWhere an animal or plant normally lives and grows. can have! If it weren't for vultures, the environmentEverything that surrounds an animal or other living thing. For example, a pond is a frog's environment. would be littered with old, rotting carcasses. And how gross and smelly would that be? Vultures play a super-important role as the clean-up crew!
Vultures are built for their messy job. They have a wide wingspanThe measurement between the tips of a bird or insect's wings when fully extended. that lets them soar while they search for dead animals. Sharp talonsThe claws of a bird of prey. and a strong, hooked beakThe hard mouthpart of a bird and some other animals. The beak can also be called a bill. help them grab and tear into a meal. They have bald heads and usually don't have feathers on their necks, either. Bare skin in those areas helps the birds stay cleaner when they stick their head into a carcassA dead body. Tasmanian devils and vultures are some of the many animals that feed on a carcass. to feed. If a vulture gets goop in its feathers, the birdAn animal that has wings and is covered with feathers. Birds have a backbone, are warm-blooded, produce young from eggs, and walk on their two legs. Most can fly. picks itself clean with its beakThe hard mouthpart of a bird and some other animals. The beak can also be called a bill., but it wouldn't be able to clean its own head! With no feathers to trap gunk on a vulture's head, meat and blood just dry and flake off. Vultures are able to eat rotting food because they have a strong immune system.
Are there vultures where you live--probably! Vultures can be found in North, Central, and South America as well as in Europe, Africa, and Asia. They often roostA place where flying birds and bats rest or sleep, or where a bird builds its nest., hunt, and feed together in big groups, but during the breeding season a male and female set up a nest of their own. The parents take turns keeping the egg warm and feeding the one or two chicks when they hatch.
Vultures help each other find food, share meals, and keep habitats clean, so what's not to like!