The Nubian Vulture ...
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tracheliotos) is a mostly African Old World vulture belonging to the bird order Accipitriformes, which also includes eagles, kites, buzzards and hawks. It is the only member of the genus Torgos. A distinct subspecies T. t. negevensis occurs in the Sinai, the Negev desert and probably north-west Saudi Arabia.
It is not closely related to the superficially similar New World vultures, and does not share the good sense of smell of some members of that group. Like many vultures, it has a bald head. The pink (sometimes reddish) coloration is a distinctive feature. The head is bald because a feathered head would become spattered with blood and other fluids, and thus be difficult to keep clean.
It is a scavenging bird, feeding mostly from animal carcasses, which it finds by sight or by watching other vultures. Large carcasses, since they provide the most subsistence at a sitting, are preferred. Lappet-faced Vultures, perhaps more than any other vulture, will on occasion attack young and weak living animals and raid the nests of other birds. Locally, Lesser Flamingoes, among others, have been reported to be culled by Lappet-faces in this way.
It is about 95-115 cm (37-45 in) in body length, with a wingspan of 2.5-3 m (8-10 ft). Wild vultures, of the subspecies T. t. tracheliotus, range from 4.4 to 9.4 kg (9.8-20.7 lb) and, in East Africa, average only 6.2 kg (13.6 lb). On the other hand, captive vultures of the slightly larger T. t. negevensis subspecies, weighed 6.5-9.2 kg (14.3-20.2 lb) in males and 10.5-13.9 kg (23.1–30.6 lb) in females. They are the most powerful and aggressive of the African vultures, and other vultures will usually cede a carcass to the Lappet-faced Vulture. This is often beneficial to the less powerful vultures because the Lappet-face can tear through the tough hides and muscles of large mammals that the others cannot penetrate, although hyenas are even more efficient in this regard.
Vultures are scavenging birds, feeding mostly on the carcasses of dead animals. Vultures are found on every continent except Antarctica and Oceania.
Although feeding largely on meat (as opposed to insects and small reptiles), vultures do not generally kill their own prey, which would classify them clearly as a raptor. Because of this, historically they have alternated between being classified as a raptor or as a non-raptor, and have been the subject of extensive DNA testing to test relationships with other birds.
A particular characteristic of many vultures is a bald head, devoid of feathers. This helps to keep the head clean when feeding. Research has shown that the bare skin may play an important role in thermoregulation.
A group of vultures is called a wake, committee, or venue. The word Geier (taken from the German language) does not have a precise meaning in ornithology, and it is occasionally used to refer to a vulture in English, as in some poetry.
Vultures are classified into two groups: Old World vultures and New World vultures. The similarities between the two different groups are due to convergent evolution.
 Old World vultures
Main article: Old World vulture
The Old World vultures found in Africa, Asia, and Europe belong to the family Accipitridae, which also includes eagles, kites, buzzards, and hawks. Old World vultures find carcasses exclusively by sight.
 New World vultures
Main article: New World vulture
The New World vultures and condors found in warm and temperate areas of the Americas are not closely related to the similar Accipitridae, but belong in the family Cathartidae, which was once considered to be related to the storks. However, recent DNA evidence suggests that they should be included among the Accipitriformes, along with other birds of prey. However, they are still not directly related to the other vultures. Several species have a good sense of smell, unusual for raptors, and are able to smell the dead they focus upon from great heights, up to a mile away.
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