Vultures are scavenging birds, feeding mostly on the carcasses of dead animals. Vultures are found on every continent except Antarctica.
Although feeding largely on meat (as opposed to insects and small reptiles), vultures do not generally kill their own prey, which would classify them clearly as a raptor. Because of this, historically they have alternated between being classified as a raptor or as a non-raptor, and have been the subject of extensive DNA testing to test relationships with other birds.
A particular characteristic of many vultures is a bald head, devoid of feathers. This helps to keep the head clean when feeding. Research has shown that the bare skin may play an important role in thermoregulation.
A group of vultures is called a wake, committee, or venue. The word Geier (taken from the Germa language) does not have a precise meaning inornithology, and it is occasionally used to refer to a vulture in English, as in some poetry.