The black vulture (Coragyps atratus) is a bird in the New World vulture family commonly found from the southeastern United States to Central Chile and Uruguay in South America. Despite the similar name and appearance, this species is unrelated to the Eurasian black vulture, an Old World vulture in the family Accipitridae (which includes eagles, hawks, kites and harriers). The American species is the only extant member of the New World vulture genus Coragyps in the family Cathartidae. It inhabits relatively open areas near scattered forests or shrublands. With a wingspan of 1.5 m (4.9 ft), it is a large bird though relatively small for a vulture. It has black plumage, a featherless, grayish-black head and neck, and a short, hooked beak. The black vulture is a scavenger and feeds on carrion, but will also eat eggs or kill newborn animals. In areas populated by humans, it also feeds at garbage dumps. It finds its meals with its keen eyesight and sense of smell. Lacking a syrinx—the vocal organ of birds—its only vocalizations are grunts or low hisses. (Full article...)
A bas-relief from Persepolis, the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire (ca. 550–330 BC) in what is now Iran, which depicts a fight between a lion and a bull. This symbol has been variously interpreted, including as the representing the Nowruz (the Persian New Year) and as the spring equinox in which the eternally fighting bull (personifying the Earth) and lion (personifying the Sun) are equal.
Photograph: Anatoly Terentiev