Most of you may not find vultures esthetically appealing, but if you observe them closely, you might find them beautiful. Generally, people have the perception that these scavengers are 'evil', but in reality they are not harmful at all.
The fact is that, they are beneficial for the environment as they keep the surroundings clean by feeding on the carcasses, but their service to nature is often overlooked.
Different Types of Vultures
You might be surprised to know that there are more than 15 types of vultures. Here is the list
African White Backed Vulture (Gyps africanus)
They are Old World Vultures. They can weigh between 9.2 lbs and 15.8 lbs, and can have a length of 98 cm. It is evident from their name that they are found in Africa (especially South Africa, Namibia, and in West Africa). They have a bald head, strong bill, and they have a good wingspan. Apart from their white back, the rest of their body is dark.
Andean condor (Vultur Gryphus)
They belong to the New World Vulture family, and are found in the Andes. They approximately weigh around 33 lbs, and have a wingspan of over 300 cm! Thus, they are one of the largest birds in the world which are able to fly. They have a bald head, and are usually black in color. A male can be easily distinguished from a female, due to the presence of a white collar on the males.
Bearded Vulture (Gypaetus barbatus)
They can be found in southern Europe, Tibet, and southern Africa. They are also called Lammergeier. They do not have a bald head, and this makes them different from most of the vultures. They are considered to be a part of the Old World Vulture family. They are massive, as they have a wingspan of 300 cm, and they can have a length of 125 cm!
Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)
They are predominantly found in America, so they are also called the American Black Vulture. They are small vultures, as their wingspan is less when compared to other vultures. They are one of the New World Vultures. They are usually 55-68 cm in length, and they weigh between 2.5-4.5 lbs. They are dark, and have a bald head.
California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus)
They are considered to be the largest bird species in northern America, as their weight can reach 29 lbs, and their wingspan is around 305 cm! Their population has reduced significantly over the years, making them one of the rarest avian species in the world. They are dark in color, but have white patches under their wings. They are from the New World Vulture family.
Cape Vulture (Gyps coprotheres)
They are Old World Vultures. They weigh around 15-25 lbs, and have a wingspan of 243-260 cm, and they are 100-115 cm long. They are also called Cape Griffon, or Kolbe's Vulture. They are found only in southern Africa. They are dark brown in color. According to the IUCN, they are 'vulnerable', and need to be protected.
Cinereous Vulture (Aegypius monachus)
They are Old World Vultures, and are also called Eurasian Black Vulture, or Monk Vulture. Their wingspan is between 243-320 cm, and length is between 98-120 cm. They can weigh up to 31 lbs. They are the largest in the Old World Vulture family, and can be found in Asia and southern Europe.
Eurasian Griffon (Gyps fulvus)
This Old World Vulture is found in northern Africa, Asia, and southern Europe. They are also called Griffon Vulture, and they weigh 13.2 and 29 lbs, and are 93-110 cm long, and have a wingspan of 230-280 cm. They have a bald head, and a white neck, and short tail feathers.
Hooded Vulture (Necrosyrtes monachus)
Found in the Africa, these vultures have a length of 62-72 cm, and weigh between 3.3-5.7 lbs. They are from the family of Old World Vultures. This vulture has a grayish 'hood', hence the name. They are found in large numbers.
King Vulture (Sarcoramphus papa)
When you see this vulture from the Old World Vulture family, you will know why they are called 'King Vultures'. They are very attractive. They are white in color , with traces of black (or gray). They have a wingspan of 122-202 cm, and a length of 67-81 cm. An adult will weigh around 10 lbs.
Lappet-faced Vulture (Torgos tracheliotus)
They belong to the Old World Vulture family, and are also called Nubian Vulture. They are 95-115 cm long, and have a wingspan of 244-305 cm. Their weight varies according to the subspecies. They are generally found in Africa.
Ruppell's Vulture (Gyps rueppellii)
They have a wingspan of about 260 cm, and they are 85-107 cm long, and they weigh 14-20 lbs. It is difficult to distinguish between the 2 sexes. They have a white collar. You can easily spot them in central Africa.
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
They can be found in America. They weigh around 1.9-5 lbs, have a wingspan of 170-183 cm, and they are 64-81 cm long. They have brownish-black plumage.
White-headed Vulture (Trigonoceps occipitalis)
This is an Old World Vulture, which is found only in Africa. They are not very large. They have a length of 72-85 cm, a wingspan of 207-230 cm, and can weigh up to 10.4 lbs. They are dark brown in color, with a pink beak.
Palm-nut Vulture (Gypohierax angolensis)
They are also called Vulturine Fish Eagle, and belong to the Old World Vulture family. They breed in Africa, and have a weight of 2.6-4 lbs, length of 60 cm, and a wingspan of 150 cm. They are white in color, with black patches on their wings. They are smallest among the Old World Vultures.
Egyptian Vulture (Neophron percnopterus)
They are small, and have white plumage. They are also called Pharaoh's Chicken, or White Scavenger Vulture. This bird belongs to the Old World Vulture family. They can weigh up to 4.4 lbs, they are 47-70 cm in length, and they have a wingspan of 5-5.6 feet.
In addition to the above, there are few more species of vultures, they are as follows:
White-rumped Vulture (Gyps bengalensis)
They belong to the Old World Vulture family. They weigh around 7.7-16.5 lbs, and are 89-93 cm in length, with a wingspan of 260 cm. They are also called Oriental White-backed Vulture as they are generally found in Asia.
Himalayan Griffon (Gyps himalayensis)
They are big vultures, belonging to the New World Vulture family. A fully grown Himalayan Griffon will have a length of 103-130 cm, and a wingspan of 260-310 cm, and will weigh between 18-26.4 lbs. In terms of size, they are second only to Cinereous Vulture.
Long Billed Vulture (Gyps indicus)
They are also called Indian Vulture, as they are preponderantly found in India. They weigh approximately 12-13.9 lbs, and are 80-100 cm long. They have a wingspan of 205 to 229 cm. They are a part of the Old World Vulture family.
Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture (Cathartes burrovianus)
They have wingspan of 150-165 cm, length of 53-66 cm, and weigh between 2.1 to 3.4 lb. They are also known as the Savannah Vulture. They are predominantly black in color, and have a yellow skin.
Most of the vultures mentioned above have several sub-types. All the vultures have a common characteristic - they live a long life. They are not as 'evil' or 'dangerous' as you think, they just look menacing. They are wonderful creatures, who help keep the environment clean.