What Is a Group of Vultures Called? (And Why?)

A group of vultures resting

Since vultures are often seen in groups, the question “What is a group of vultures called?” is quite common amongst bird and wildlife fanciers. If you have this question in mind, you’re on the right page.

For starters, vultures are large social raptors that can be found on every continent except for Australia and Antarctica. Most vultures are carnivorous, while others are scavengers who primarily feed on carrion. 

If you’re curious to learn what groups of vultures are called, keep reading. The following sections contain fun facts, such as what a group of baby vultures is called and how many vultures are typically found in a group.

What Is a Group of Vultures Called?

Two vultures perched on a dead tree branch

Generally, a group of vultures is referred to as a flock or a kettle. There are also multiple other ways to refer to a group of vultures, such as wake, committee, and venue. Interestingly, how these terms are used depends on the group’s actions during that particular moment.

The following sections expound more on the different terms one can use to collectively describe a group of vultures and why they are referred to as such. 

Other Names for a Group of Vultures

Aside from the commonly used terms such as flock and kettle, there are several other terms one can use to describe a group of vultures collectively. 

Here are 14 other ways a group of vultures is referred to:

  • A volt of vultures
  • A venue of vultures
  • A rout of vultures
  • A soar of vultures
  • A cast of vultures
  • A meal of vultures
  • A flight of vultures
  • A colony of vultures
  • A family of vultures
  • A vortex of vultures
  • A rookery of vultures
  • A solitary of vultures
  • A volume of vultures
  • A looming of vultures
  • A congregation of vultures

Among the 14 terms mentioned above, the terms cast, flight, venue, and family are some of the other most commonly used words to collectively describe a group of vultures aside from flock and kettle.

What Do You Call a Group of Roosting Vultures? 

Roosting vultures near the river

Roosting vultures are vultures that are seen settling, resting, or sleeping either on a tree or on the ground. This group of vultures is typically referred to as a committee of vultures. 

While there is no scientific reason as to why they are referred to as a committee, many observations state that this may have originated as they are often seen in a straight-line formation. 

What Do You Call a Group of Feeding Vultures?

A group of feeding vultures is primarily described as a wake. Generally, vultures are scavengers who prefer feeding on dead animals, also known as carrion. On the other hand, vultures may also be carnivorous.

Since their primary choice of food is carrion, the stomachs and immune and digestive systems of vultures are incredibly strong. Their ability to feed on rotten carrion is also a big advantage for their survival.

Why Is a Group of Vultures Called a “Wake”?

A wake of vultures

A wake is a gathering where people pay their respects and tributes to someone who has passed away. Groups often surround the coffin and say a few words or prayers to commemorate their loved one.

A feeding group of vultures called a wake is typically referred to as such due to their similar appearance when they descend on the ground and collectively feed on a dead animal; hence the term “wake.” 

When no carrion is available, vultures also feed on small animals such as rats, squirrels, and other small birds. 

Check out the video below to see a wake of vultures communally feeding on carrion:

Black Vulture, Gourmet of Corpses | River Fox

What Is a Group of Baby Vultures Called?

As of writing, there is no specific term to collectively describe a group of baby vultures. Instead, they are generally referred to as nestlings, fledglings, chicks, or a brood of baby vultures. 

The term which we use to collectively describe them depends on the life stage they are in. Brood is used to describe a group of newly hatched eggs, while nestlings, fledglings, and chicks are used to describe vultures a few weeks old. 

‎How Many Vultures Are in a Flock?

Vultures in a flock

Generally, a flock or group of vultures consists of at least 3 to 5 birds. The flocks may reach up to around 100 to 300 vultures and can grow even larger during the winter season. 

The most commonly seen number of vultures in a flock is around 5 to 10 and 10 to 20 birds. These numbers in groups are typically seen during the rest of the seasons aside from winter. 

Additionally, how would you feel if you saw some of the largest vultures flocking together? To satisfy your curiosity about huge vultures, I have also ranked them in terms of size for your reference.

Why Do Vultures Flock Together in Large Groups?

Vultures flock together in large groups for several reasons. These include protection from predators and other threats, providing each other with heat during the winter season, and larger chances of finding sources of food.

Aside from finding food, flocking in large groups provides vultures with higher chances of finding several mates. The more female vultures are in a group, the less competitive and aggressive the males have to be in mating. 

My interest in these vulture groups led me to realize that their fondness for carrion, like other birds that feed on dead animals, is also one of the reasons why they can be seen flocking together in public.

In this article, it was mentioned that hundreds of vultures settled atop one of the middle schools in Alabama, scaring the students. However, they really pose no threat to them.

In fact, they are primarily responsible for the clean-up of dead animals near the campus and play a vital role in the ecological balance of their environment.

Also, since they are protected by the Migratory Bird Treaty Act, concerned citizens must always resort to humane means of shooing these birds away.

When Do Vultures Flock Together?

Vultures flocked together to eat

Generally, vultures such as the turkey vulture and black vulture flock together all year round, more so during the cold months. 

A vulture group may often be semi-permanent for most of the year, while other flocks stick in the same group for over a year or even decades. 

Flocks that gather for only a short period usually do so when there is a nearby source of food where they communally gather to feed. Likewise, vultures may flock together momentarily when they migrate from one area to another.

Now that you have discovered what a group of vultures is called, feel free to leave your thoughts or other queries in the comments below!

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