Order Cathartiformes

So, this is another group of birds whose classification varies depending on the system. These birds (along with most diurnal raptors) had originally been classified within the order Falconiformes, then moved to Accipitriformes (where some experts say they should stay)–but others have moved them to their own order: Cathartiformes.

That is the classification suggestion that I’m taking and therefore gave these raptors their own series of pages.

The order Cathartiformes includes a single family and seven species, all of which are found in the New World (North, Central, and South America).

Turkey vulture soaring over the house

These are the New World vultures, and while they’re considered birds of prey–they feed mainly on carrion. Therefore while they have ‘raptor feet’–they don’t have the muscle strength needed to grasp and carry off live animals.

They resemble ‘Old World’ vultures (through convergent evolution)–both have bald heads that are devoid of feathers (as this is a common trait for feeding on carrion–there are no feathers that could accidentally get covered in dead animal matter). The main difference between the two is actually not ‘visible’ to the human eye–the New World vultures have a heightened sense of smell (and that is how most locate their meals), while the Old World vultures have to rely on their eyesight instead of smell.

Since all seven species belong to the same family–that is where I will be listing them out, in addition the photography goals for the order and family.

Reference: https://nhpbs.org/wild/cathartiformes.asp