A close family: Black Vultures!
Black Vultures (Coragyps atratus) are the smallest amongst the vultures. As they are no songbirds or colorful birds they are often neglected by onlookers. They may not be able to mesmerize you with a serenade and they may not delight you with 'electrifying' colorful feathers, but they do are useful for the environment.
Since I can remember I have seen Black Vultures almost everywhere in Suriname. Near dumping area's they are often seen soaring above the garbage pile.
Here in Kabalebo I have seen groups of at least 10 or 15 members. And here is where I have noticed their softer side. They are social and very close with each other. When night falls they all fly into the highest tree near the resort and stay there until the next morning. Sometimes you can even hear them 'discussing' about who will get the best spot, but within minutes these issues are solved.
Vultures are known for their strong sense of smell and their ability to eat decaying flesh of dead animals without getting sick. The Black Vulture can be seen as a natural garbage man. Here they take care of the left overs what the ocelots didn't devour the previous night, this usually happens early in the morning, making sure that nothing goes to waste. And if there is a dead frog, reptile or bird in plain sight, they are the first to take care of it, unless the ants are there first.
Sometimes they leave the area and try their luck elsewhere, but they always return back to base. Over the past years I also noticed how social, funny and close these birds can be too. They cuddle from time to time, sometimes they are in an argument but never does their argument end up in a 'battle to the death'.
One of their funny habits that makes sure that onlookers do enjoy their presence and start noticing them too … is spreading their wings in unity to dry them in the sun. I haven't seen this synchronized move done by any other groups.
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