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A bare-headed, keen-sighted bird of prey in any of 22 species found mainly in warm regions. New World vultures (family Cathartidae, related to storks) are 24–31 in. (60–80 cm) long. Old World vultures (family Accipitridae, related to eagles) include the smallest (20 in. [50 cm] long) and the largest vulture species. The cinereous, or black, vulture (Aegypius monachus), one of the largest flying birds, grows to about 40 in. (100 cm) long, weighs almost 30 lb (13 kg), and has a 9-ft (2.7-m) wingspan. Most species eat carrion, garbage, and excrement, but some will occasionally eat a live animal. See alsocondor; marabou; turkey vulture.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on vulture, visit Britannica.com.