Vultures are scavenging birds, feeding mostly on the carcasses of dead animals. Vultures are found on every continent except Antarctica and Oceania.
A particular characteristic of many vultures is a bald head, devoid of feathers. Research has shown that the bare skin may play an important role in thermoregulation.
Vultures seldom attack healthy animals, but may kill the wounded or sick. Vast numbers have been seen upon battlefields. They gorge themselves when prey is abundant, till their crop bulges, and sit, sleepy or half torpid, to digest their food. They do not carry food to their young in their claws, but disgorge it from the crop. These birds are of great value as scavengers, especially in hot regions. Botulinum toxin, the toxin that causes botulism, does not affect them, and they can eat rotten flesh containing anthrax and cholera bacteria. When a vulture's dinner has too thick a hide for its beak to open, it waits for a larger scavenger to eat first.