Quando questo totem entra a far parte della vostra vita in genere rimarrà per sempre con voi.
E' simbolo di rinascita dalla morte, del cambiamento e rinnovamento.
Ci insegnerà a volare oltre i nostri limiti.
E' presente in molte culture antiche, come potremmo constatare dai seguenti documenti di wikipedia, di cui riporto solo qualche stralcio perciò vi consiglio di visionarli anche nelle fonti orginali.
Da Wikipedia, l'enciclopedia libera.
Avvoltoio è il nome comune con cui si indicano varie specie di uccelli dell'ordine dei Falconiformi, appartenenti alle famiglie degli Accipitridae (avvoltoi del Vecchio Mondo) e dei Cathartidae (avvoltoi del Nuovo Mondo).
Tra le varie specie di avvoltoi del Nuovo Mondo si trovano l'avvoltoio collorosso (Cathartes aura), l'avvoltoio reale (Sarcoramphus papa) e l'urubù (Coragyps atratus), mentre tra quelli del Vecchio Mondo, nella sottofamiglia Aegypiinae, l'avvoltoio testarossa (Sarcogyps calvus), l'avvoltoio monaco (Aegypius monachus), il grifone eurasiatico (Gyps fulvus), il Capovaccaio (Neophron percnopterus) e il gipeto (Gypaetus barbatus).
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Eagle_beak_sideview_A.jpg
Caratteristici degli avvoltoi sono la testa e il collo privi di piumaggio, zampe coperte di penne fino all'articolazione e artigli che, a differenza di altri rapaci, non sono aguzzi e affilati ma tondeggianti, più adatti per camminare che per ghermire le prede.
Gli avvoltoi sono uccelli saprofagi ("spazzini"), che si alimentano principalmente di carcasse di animali morti.
A differenza degli avvoltoi del Nuovo Mondo che hanno un olfatto estremamente sviluppato, gli avvoltoi del Vecchio Mondo individuano le carcasse sfruttando esclusivamente il senso della vista.
Gli avvoltoi (soprattutto il grifone) sono alla base del rito della sepoltura celeste praticato dai buddhisti tibetani e dai Parsi dell'India.FONTE:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Vulture is the name given to two groups of convergently evolved scavenging birds, the New World Vultures including the well-known Californian and Andean Condors, and the Old World Vultures including the birds which are seen scavenging on carcasses of dead animals on African plains. New World Vultures are found in North and South America, Old World Vultures in Europe, Africa and Asia, meaning that between the two groups, Vultures are found on every continent except Australia and Antarctica.
A particular characteristic of many vultures is a bald head, devoid of normal 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, venue, kettle, or volt. The term kettle refers to vultures in flight, while committee, volt, and venue refer to vultures resting in trees. Wake is reserved for a group of vultures who are feeding. The word Geier (taken from the German language) does not have a precise meaning in ornithology, and it is occasionally used to refer to a vulture in English, as in some poetry.
Vultures are classified into two groups: Old World Vultures and New World Vultures. The similarities between the two different groups are due to convergent evolution.
Old World Vultures
The Old World Vultures found in Africa, Asia, and Europe belong to the family Accipitridae, which also includes eagles, kites, buzzards, and hawks. Old World vultures find carcasses exclusively by sight.
New World Vultures
The New World Vultures and condors found in warm and temperate areas of the Americas are not closely related to the similar Accipitridae, but belong in the family Cathartidae, which was once considered to be related to the storks. However, recent DNA evidence suggests that they should be included among the Accipitriformes, along with other birds of prey. However, they are still not closely related to the other vultures, and their similarities are due to convergent evolution. Several species have a good sense of smell, unusual for raptors, and are able to smell the dead they focus upon from great heights, up to a mile away.
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Vulture_19o05.jpg
Vultures seldom attack healthy animals, but may kill the wounded or sick. When a carcass has too thick a hide for its beak to open, it waits for a larger scavenger to eat first. Vast numbers have been seen upon battlefields. They gorge themselves when prey is abundant, until their crop bulges, and sit, sleepy or half torpid, to digest their food. They do not carry food to their young in their claws, but disgorge it from the crop. These birds are of great value as scavengers, especially in hot regions. Vulture stomach acid is exceptionally corrosive, allowing them to safely digest putrid carcasses infected with Botulinum toxin, hog cholera, and anthrax bacteria that would be lethal to other scavengers. New World vultures have the ability to use their corrosive vomit as a defensive projectile when threatened. New World vultures also urinate straight down their legs; the uric acid kills bacteria accumulated from walking through carcasses, and also acts as evaporative cooling.
The vultures in south Asia, mainly in India and Nepal have almost gone extinct in just the last 10-15 years due to a drug called Diclofenac used as pain-killers in humans and animals  Government of India has taken very late cognizance of this fact and have banned the drug for animals. However, it may take decades for vultures to come back to their earlier population level. Same problem is also seen in Nepal where government has taken some late steps to conserve remaining vultures.
^ Ward, J.; McCafferty, D.J.; Houston, D.C.; Ruxton, G.D. (2008). "Why do vultures have bald heads? The role of postural adjustment and bare skin areas in thermoregulation". Journal of Thermal Biology 33 (3): 168–173. doi:10.1016/j.jtherbio.2008.01.002.
^ Lipton, James. An Exaltation of Larks Penguin, 1993
^ "Groups to Animals". Westvalley.edu. Retrieved 2010-03-20.[dead link]
^ "Vulture Facts and more at WebVulture.com, your Online Vulture Resource". Webvulture.com. Retrieved 2010-03-20.
^ Caryl, Jim. Ph.D
^ "HowStuffWorks Why is it a bad idea to scare a vulture?". HowStuffWorks.com. Retrieved 2011-03-01.
^ "Diclofenac residues as the cause of vulture population decline in Pakistan". Nature. February 2004..
Hilty, Birds of Venezuela, ISBN 0-7136-6418-5FONTE:
Old World vulture
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Old World vultures belong to the family Accipitridae, which also includes eagles, buzzards, kites, and hawks.
Old World vultures are not closely related to the superficially similar New World vultures and condors, and do not share that group's good sense of smell. The similarities between the two groups of vultures are due to convergent evolution rather than a close relationship. They were widespread in both the Old World and North America, during the Neogene. Old World vultures are probably a polyphyletic group within Accipitridae, with Palm-nut Vulture, Egyptian Vulture and Lammergeier separate from the others.
Both Old World and New World vultures are scavenging birds, feeding mostly from carcasses of dead animals. Old World vultures find carcasses exclusively by sight. A particular characteristic of many vultures is a bald head, devoid of feathers. If vultures had head feathers, they would become spattered with blood and other fluids when the vultures ate flesh from carcasses, and thus would be difficult to keep clean.
In Southern Africa, the name for a Nubian vultureit is synonymous with the term applied to lovers, because these vultures are always seen in pairs, mother and child remaining closely bonded together. Pairing, bonding, protecting, and loving are essential attributes associated along with the vulture's size and its ability to soar high in the sky.
The Egyptians considered the vulture to be an excellent mother, and the wide wingspan was seen as all-encompassing and providing a protective cover to her infants. The white Egyptian vulture was the animal picked to represent Nekhbet, the mother goddess and protective patron of southern, Upper Egypt. The vulture hieroglyph
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://en.wikipedia.org/w/extensions/wikihiero/img/hiero_G1.png
was the Egyptian sign used for the sound (3) including words such as mother, prosperous, grandmother, and ruler.
In the Hindu epic Ramayana, there appear two demi-gods who had the form of vultures, Jatayu (Sanskrit: जटायू, jatāyū) and his brother Sampaati, with whom are associated stories of courage and self-sacrifice.
When young, the two used to compete as to who could fly higher. On one such instance Jatayu flew so high that he was about to get seared by sun's flames. Sampaati saved his brother by spreading his own wings and thus shielding Jatayu from the hot flames. In the process, Sampaati himself got injured and lost his wings. As a result Sampaati lived wingless for the rest of his life.
When Jatayu was old, he witnessed the beautiful Sita, wife of the god Rama, being kidnapped by Ravana. Jatayu tried to save her but was defeated and mortally wounded. When he lay dying he was still able to tell Rama and his brother Lakshmana in which direction Sita was being taken, facilitating her eventual rescue.
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Ravi_Varma-Ravana_Sita_Jathayu.jpg
In the Tibetan practice of sky burial, vultures and other birds eat human corpses.
Although the vulture plays an important natural role, in the Western world, the image of the vulture is quite negative, with 'vulture' used as a metaphor for those who prey on the weak or dying, with associated negative connotations of cowardice and selfishness.
A project named "Vulture Restaurant" is underway in Nepal in an effort to conserve the dwindling number of vultures. The "restaurant" is an open grassy area where naturally dying, sick, and old cows are fed to the vultures.FONTE:
New World vulture
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
The New World Vulture or Condor family Cathartidae contains seven species in five genera, all but one of which are monotypic. It includes five vultures and two condors found in warm and temperate areas of the Americas.
New World vultures are not closely genetically related to the superficially similar family of Old World vultures; similarities between the two groups are due to convergent evolution. Just how closely related they are is a matter of debate (see Taxonomy and nomenclature). The "New World" vultures were widespread in both the Old World and North America during the Neogene.
Vultures are scavenging birds, feeding mostly from carcasses of dead animals. New World vultures have a good sense of smell, but Old World vultures find carcasses exclusively by sight. A particular characteristic of many vultures is a bald head, devoid of feathers.
The American Black Vulture and the King Vulture appear in a variety of Maya hieroglyphs in Mayan codices. The King Vulture is one of the most common species of birds represented in the Mayan codices. Its glyph is easily distinguishable by the knob on the bird’s beak and by the concentric circles that represent the bird’s eyes. It is sometimes portrayed as a god with a human body and a bird head. According to Mayan mythology, this god often carried messages between humans and the other gods. It is also used to represent Cozcaquauhtli, the thirteenth day of the month in the Mayan calendar. In Mayan codices, the American Black Vulture is normally connected with death or shown as a bird of prey, and its glyph is often depicted attacking humans. This species lacks the religious connections that the King Vulture has. While some of the glyphs clearly show the American Black Vulture’s open nostril and hooked beak, some are assumed to be this species because they are vulture-like and painted black, but lack the King Vulture’s knob.
FONTE IMMAGINE: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Colca-condor-c03.jpg