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Are Vultures Carnivores?



Vultures ARE carnivores.

More Info: Two primary species of vultures are found in the United States, Black vultures and Turkey vultures. While both species are carnivores, they feed in different ways. Black vultures will attack live prey but Turkey vultures would rather eat dead animals.


Black vultures are social birds that travel in large flocks. These birds must flap their wings often to fly. Turkey vultures prefer a more solitary lifestyle and flies at lower altitudes.


Both species of vultures use their keen sense of smell to locate food. Vultures prefer eating meat that is freshly dead, although they must often wait for the meal to soften before they can consume it. If these birds cannot find dead meat, they may feed on birds, reptiles, amphibians and fish. Vultures have been known to attack small live prey such as pigs, chickens and sheep.


Vultures roost in large trees in forests at night and cruise open areas of farmland for signs of food. These carnivorous birds often find meals at roadsides and in ditches. Vultures will feed in areas where humans are present but prefer to nest in solitary locations. Although vultures feed primarily on dead animals, they rarely become ill. These birds have an especially high tolerance to salmonella, botulism and other devastating diseases.



Venable, Norma Jean. “Birds of Prey.” West Virginia University Extension Service. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2012.

“Turkey Vultures.” All About Birds-The Cornell Lab of Ornithology. N.p., n.d. Web. 27 Nov. 2012.

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