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vulture

vulture, common name for large birds of prey of temperate and tropical regions. The Old World vultures (family Accipitridae) are allied to hawks and eagles; the more ancient American vultures and condors are of a different family (Cathartidae) with distant links to storks and cormorants.

American vultures have no syrinx and are thus voiceless, emitting weak hisses. They feed voraciously and indiscriminately, chiefly on carrion. Because they have weak beaks and lack the strength of other birds of prey, they rarely attack other than helpless animals. Most vultures have dark plumage and small, naked heads. In the adult turkey vulture, or turkey buzzard, Cathartes aura (wingspread 6 ft/1.9 m), the head is red; in the smaller black vulture it is black; and in the tropical king vulture (with cream and black plumage) it is orange, crimson, and purple, with a neck ruff of gray down.

Vultures have keen sight and are effortless soarers, skillful at riding the thermal updrafts of their mountain habitats. They are normally solitary but will gather in crowds to feed. As valuable scavengers they are protected by law. A vulture of the Pleistocene epoch was the largest bird that ever existed, with a wingspread of 16 to 17 ft (4.9–5.1 m).

Vultures are frequently called buzzards, although the name is more correctly applied to hawks of the genus Buteo. Vultures are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Falconiformes, families Cathartidae and Accipitridae.

See study by T. van Dooren (2011).

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vulture

vul·ture / ˈvəlchər/ • n. 1. a large bird of prey (order Accipitriformes) with the head and neck more or less bare of feathers, feeding chiefly on carrion. They are classified as Old World vultures (family Accipitridae) and New World vultures (family Cathartidae). 2. a contemptible person who preys on or exploits others. DERIVATIVES: vul·tur·ine / -ˌrīn/ adj. vul·tur·ish adj. vul·tur·ous / -ch(ə)rəs/ adj.

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vulture

vulture a large bird of prey, feeding chiefly on carrion and reputed to gather with others in anticipation of the death of a sick or injured animal or person; a contemptible person who preys on or exploits others.

Vulture may also be used allusively for something that preys on one's mind, such as a consuming or torturing passion, especially with reference to the punishment inflicted on Tityus.

See also culture vulture.

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vulture

vulture Large, keen-sighted, strong-flying bird that feeds on carrion. New World vultures, found throughout the Americas, include the condor, turkey buzzard, and king vulture; family Cathartidae. Old World vultures, related to eagles, are found in Africa, Europe, and Asia, and include the Egyptian vulture and the griffon vulture; family Accipitridae.

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vultures

vultures
1. See FALCONIFORMES
.
2. (New World vultures) See CATHARTIDAE
.
3. (Old World vultures, palm-nut vulture, Gypohierax angolensis) See ACCIPITRIDAE

4. See TERATORNIS INCREDIBILIS.

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vulture

vulture XIV. — AN. vultur, OF. voltour (mod. vautour):- L. vulturius, f. vultur, voltur.
So vulturine XVII. — L.

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Vulture Peak

Vulture Peak (mythical mountain): see NICHIREN.

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vulture

vulturebotcher, gotcha, top-notcher, watcher, wotcha •imposture, posture •firewatcher • birdwatcher •debaucher, scorcher, torture •Boucher, voucher •cloture, encroacher, poacher, reproacher •jointure • moisture •cachucha, future, moocher, smoocher, suture •butcher •kuccha, scutcher, toucher •structure •culture, vulture •conjuncture, juncture, puncture •rupture • sculpture • viniculture •agriculture • sericulture •arboriculture • pisciculture •horticulture • silviculture •subculture • counterculture •aquaculture • acupuncture •substructure • infrastructure •candidature • ligature • judicature •implicature •entablature, tablature •prelature • nomenclature • filature •legislature • musculature •premature • signature • aperture •curvature •lurcher, nurture, percher, searcher

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