Sunday, June 30, 2013

Turkey vulture

     Here in El Salvador, Turkey vultures (Cathartes aura) are generally referred to as "ave de rapiña"; which loosely translates to "raptor ".  What is really neat is that Old World vultures belong to the taxonomic order Falconiformes (where raptors/ birds of prey are also grouped).  However, New World vultures are not part of the Falconiformes & are evolutionarily unrelated to raptors.  It appears then that the term "ave de rapiña" is a remnant from Old World Spanish (Spain!) and a misnomer for a New World bird!  Here's a great paper by Gibb et al. 2007.