Our native wild animals are so amazing! Vultures may seem, at first glance, to be the cousins of buzzards, hawks, eagles, owls and falcons. In the very least, you’d expect our vultures to be related to vultures from Africa, Europe, and Asia…. but they’re not!
Believe it or not, native vultures in the Americas are actually the relatives of storks. Traits they share with their stork cousins include the length of their legs, their tendency to poo on their legs to cool off, and their inability to vocalize. New World vultures even have a little bit of webbing between their toes!
Another key difference: while other birds of prey have little to no sense of smell, vultures from the Americas have an extremely strong sense of smell that enables them to find their meals!