- Provides a detailed study of the evolution of vultures
- Examines the differences between Old World and New World vultures
- Discusses conservation issues for vultures over the past several decades
- Compares vulture ecology with that of other scavengers and raptors
- Addresses recent developments in vulture–human co-evolution
This book reexamines current knowledge on the evolution, ecology, and conservation biology of both New World vultures (Cathartidae) and Old World vultures (Accipitridae) and seeks answers to past and present regional extinctions, colorizations, and conservation questions. Extinct species of both families are examined, as is the disputed evidence for familial similarities and differences currently under review by geneticists and ornithologists.
Conservation questions concern the extent to which recent land cover change (deforestation, urbanization, and desertification), wildlife depletions, and pollution have affected scavenging vultures. Such changes are examined as both positive and negative for vultures—a growing body of literature hints at the positive impacts of urban waste, more open forests, forest fires, landscape cultivation, road kills, and shore development, especially with increased attention to bird adaptation and "new" theories of adaptive management in conservation. These are contrasted with the conservation of other raptors and scavengers. Within new trends in conservation, with emphases on animal/human shared co-evolution in intensely habituated spaces, vulture conservation requires important new perspectives that contrast with the needs of other species conservation.