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C. aura (Linnaeus, 1758) C. burrovianus Cassin, 1845 C. melambrotus Wetmore, 1964

Approximate distribution of the genus Cathartes. Green indicates that at least one species is resident year-round and yellow shows areas where one species, the turkey vulture, is a summer-only breeding visitor.

The genus Cathartes
Cathartes
includes medium-sized to large carrion-feeding birds in the New World vulture
New World vulture
(Cathartidae) family. The three species currently classified in this genus occur widely in the Americas. Cathartes
Cathartes
is the Greek word καθαρτής, for "purifier," referring to these vultures' role as "cleansers" that "tidy up" decomposing corpses in nature.

Contents

1 Taxonomy

1.1 Systematics 1.2 Species

2 Description 3 Distribution and habitat 4 Ecology and behaviour 5 References

Taxonomy[edit] Systematics[edit] Cathartes
Cathartes
is one of the five genera of New World vultures. The taxonomic placement of these vultures remains unclear.[1] It is the only genus in its family that is not monotypic. The New World and Old World vultures are similar in appearance and have similar ecological roles, but evolved from different ancestors in widely separated parts of the world. The relationships between the two vulture groups is a matter of debate, with some earlier authorities suggesting that the New World vultures are more closely related to storks.[2] In 2007 the American Ornithologists' Union's North American checklist moved Cathartidae back into the lead position in Falconiformes, but with an asterisk that indicates it is a taxon "that is probably misplaced in the current phylogenetic listing but for which data indicating proper placement are not yet available".[3] The AOU's draft South American checklist places the Cathartidae in their own order, Cathartiformes.[4] However, recent DNA study on the evolutionary relationships between bird groups also suggests that they are related to the other birds of prey and should be part of a new order Accipitriformes
Accipitriformes
instead,[5] a position adopted in 2010 by the AOU's North American check-list,[6] and shared with the International Ornithological Congress.[7] Species[edit] The genus Cathartes
Cathartes
has three recognized species:[8]

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution

Cathartes
Cathartes
aura Turkey vulture the Americas
Americas
from southern Canada to Cape Horn

C. burrovianus Lesser yellow-headed vulture Argentina, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, French Guiana, Guatemala, Guyana, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Suriname, Uruguay, and Venezuela

C. melambrotus Greater yellow-headed vulture South America

The first member of this genus to be formally described, the turkey vulture, was named by Linnaeus as Vultur aura in his Systema Naturae in 1758,[9] but was eventually moved to the current genus which had been created by German zoologist Johann Illiger in 1811.[10] The yellow-headed birds first described in 1845 by John Cassin[11] were not split into two species until 1964.[12] Description[edit] All Cathartes
Cathartes
species have featherless heads with brightly colored skin, yellow to orange in the yellow-headed vultures, bright red in the turkey vulture. All three species share a well-developed sense of smell, which is rare in birds, that enables them to locate carrion under the canopy. Distribution and habitat[edit] Forests of the Americas, especially Mexico, Central America, and South America. Ecology and behaviour[edit] While all species obtain most of their diet by scavenging, the lesser yellow-headed vulture is known to hunt live prey in wetland environments. References[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Cathartes.

Wikispecies
Wikispecies
has information related to Cathartes

^ Remsen, J. V., Jr.; C. D. Cadena; A. Jaramillo; M. Nores; J. F. Pacheco; M. B. Robbins; T. S. Schulenberg; F. G. Stiles; D. F. Stotz & K. J. Zimmer (2007) A classification of the bird species of South America. Archived March 2, 2009, at the Wayback Machine. South American Classification Committee] ^ Sibley, Charles G. and Burt L. Monroe (1990) Distribution and Taxonomy of the Birds of the World. Yale University Press. ISBN 0-300-04969-2 ^ American Ornithologists' Union
American Ornithologists' Union
(2009) ^ Remsen et al. (2008) ^ Hackett et al. (2008) ^ American Ornithologists' Union
American Ornithologists' Union
(2010) ^ International Ornithological Congress. "IOC World Bird
Bird
List version 2.8". IOC. Retrieved 2011-06-27.  ^ "Cathartes". Integrated Taxonomic
Taxonomic
Information System. Retrieved 15 May 2011.  ^ (in Latin) Linnaeus, Carolus (1758). Systema naturae per regna tria naturae, secundum classes, ordines, genera, species, cum characteribus, differentiis, synonymis, locis. Tomus I. Editio decima, reformata. Holmiae. (Laurentii Salvii). p. 86.  ^ Illiger, Johann (1811). Prodromus systematis mammalium et avium. Berolini: Sumptibus C. Salfeld. p. 236.  ^ Cassin, John. "[untitled]". Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia. 2 (8): 212. Near Veracruz, Mexico.  ^ Wetmore, Alexander (1964). "A revision of the American vultures of the genus Cathartes". Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collections. 146 (6): 15. 

v t e

Vultures

Kingdom: Animalia Phylum: Chordata Class: Aves

Cathartidae (New World vultures)

Cathartes

Turkey vulture
Turkey vulture
( Cathartes
Cathartes
aura) Lesser yellow-headed vulture
Lesser yellow-headed vulture
( Cathartes
Cathartes
burrovianus) Greater yellow-headed vulture
Greater yellow-headed vulture
( Cathartes
Cathartes
melambrotus)

Coragyps

American black vulture (Coragyps atratus)

Sarcoramphus

King vulture
King vulture
(Sarcoramphus papa)

Gymnogyps

California condor
California condor
(Gymnogyps californianus)

Vultur

Andean condor
Andean condor
(Vultur gryphus)

Accipitridae: Gypaetinae (eagle-vultures)

Eutriorchis

Madagascan serpent eagle
Madagascan serpent eagle
(Eutriorchis astur)

Gypohierax

Palm-nut vulture
Palm-nut vulture
(Gypohierax angolensis)

Polyboroides

Madagascan harrier-hawk
Madagascan harrier-hawk
( Polyboroides
Polyboroides
radiatus) African harrier-hawk ( Polyboroides
Polyboroides
typus)

Neophron

Egyptian vulture
Egyptian vulture
(Neophron percnopterus)

Gypaetus

Bearded vulture
Bearded vulture
(Gypaetus barbatus)

Accipitridae: Gypinae (Old World vultures)

Sarcogyps

Red-headed vulture
Red-headed vulture
(Sarcogyps calvus)

Trigonoceps

White-headed vulture
White-headed vulture
(Trigonoceps occipitalis)

Aegypius

Cinereous vulture
Cinereous vulture
(Aegypius monachus)

Torgos

Lappet-faced vulture
Lappet-faced vulture
(Torgos tracheliotos)

Necrosyrtes

Hooded vulture
Hooded vulture
(Necrosyrtes monachus)

Gyps

White-rumped vulture
White-rumped vulture
( Gyps
Gyps
bengalensis) Himalayan vulture
Himalayan vulture
( Gyps
Gyps
himalayensis) White-backed vulture
White-backed vulture
( Gyps
Gyps
africanus) Rüppell's vulture
Rüppell's vulture
( Gyps
Gyps
rueppellii) Griffon vulture
Griffon vulture
( Gyps
Gyps
fulvus) Indian vulture
Indian vulture
( Gyps
Gyps
indicus) Slender-billed vulture
Slender-billed vulture
( Gyps
Gyps
tenuirostris) Cape vulture
Cape vulture
( Gyps
Gyps
coprothere)

Related topics

Diclofenac Indian vulture
Indian vulture
crisis

Taxon identifiers

Wd: Q859043 ADW: Cathartes EoL: 20479 EPPO: 1KTHSG Fossilworks: 137175 GBIF: 2481927 ITIS: 175264 NCBI: 33611 W

.