V Is For Vulture

Vulture Doodlewash

There were only a couple options for this letter, and although a vole is pretty cute, I was struck by the look of this lappet-faced vulture. Not a particularly handsome bird, but with his feather boa he seems to fancy himself rather dapper and I found this intriguing. Though they are scavengers that like to feast on any animal carcass they find, they do prefer their food as fresh as possible and are excellent at finding it before it gets thoroughly nasty and decayed. Which seems so civilized when you think about it.

Vultures tend to dig into the food they find with nothing going to waste. When diving head deep into a dead animal, it helps to be bald so that nothing sticks. The one shown here is an Old World vulture from Africa, hunting only by sight, and these are not closely related to the New World vultures in the western hemisphere. New World vultures have a much better sense of smell, which is odd when you discover that some of them will often cool themselves off on a sunny day by urinating on their own legs.

There’s honestly not an interesting fact about vultures that doesn’t involve something rather gross. Like the fact that turkey vultures can find hidden carcasses by detecting the methane gas that’s a product of decomposition. This has come in handy for humans, by using these vultures to detect leaks in cross-country gas lines because they’ll circle above them. As gross as they seem, I still think they’re pretty interesting creatures and fun to doodlewash. Next up, we have a Walrus in the lead for tomorrow, but this can all change, of course. Just three left after that, as the options grow even more limited, but almost to the end!


About the Doodlewash

M. Graham watercolors: Quinacridone Gold, Pyrrol Red, Dioxazine Purple, Burnt Sienna, Neutral Tint. Lamy Safari Al Star pen with Platinum Carbon black ink in a 5″ x 8″ 140 lb. (300 gsm) Pentalic Aqua Journal

Profile photo of Charlie O'Shields
Creator of Doodlewash® and founder of World Watercolor Month™ (July) and World Watercolor Group™. Sharing daily watercolor illustrations and stories while proudly featuring talented artists from all over the world! If you’d like to be a guest artist on Doodlewash.com, contact me!
Published in By Charlie
55 Comments
  1. Catherine Johnson 1 year ago

    Oh very civilised lol. Great painting!

  2. Sand Salt Moon 1 year ago

    Good use of the Opera Rose ! V is for VERY interesting and vivid painting

    • Author

      Thanks Cynthia! 💕😃Actually that was a typo I just corrected, because I intended to use Opera Rose and then ended up getting a similar effect with Dioxazine Purple and Pyrrol Red alone. Hehe… Which was kind of cool because now it’s light fast! Though still just in a little sketchbook. 😊Glad you liked my vulture!!

  3. Susan Feniak 1 year ago

    Oh my he does have a rather stern look about him. Wicked. 🙂 Great doodlewash!

  4. debiriley 1 year ago

    beautifully textured and detailed Charlie, with a decidedly scowly face!

  5. Jacob 1 year ago

    Haha, I love the scowl! And I’ve never thought of the plumage as a feather boa before. This is perfect! I’m so glad you picked the vulture as I was planning to shout that out had I actually got to the last one in time. Vultures are pretty gross indeed, but just imagine how gross things would be without them!

    A walrus will be great, though, I guess that means Witchetty Grub is out of the question? 😉

    • Author

      Thanks Jacob! Yeah…they are super gross, but serve a valuable and noble purpose!! Lol yeah…I’m leaning toward Walrus. Things can often change….I’m like that, but he’s the frontrunner. I have to also doodlewash another generic cat for C because I can’t use Grumpy Cat. So I’ll have to sneak some extra doodlewashes in before the week is up! And what the hell is a Witchetty Grub?? Hold please…. googling…. ewwwww!!! And under the name it just says “Food”!! Yuck!! No thanks!! Hahaha!! Love it!! ❤️

      • Jacob 1 year ago

        Well, I’m always up for another kitty cat! And haha, bet you’re glad you googled now! How delicious they look, right? Apparently they taste like scrambled egg with a hint of nut. I like scrambled egg, but I think I’ll take the internet’s word for it, all the same.

      • Author

        Haha…scrambled egg with a hint of nut is an awesome description! But yeah…I’m going to take the Internet’s word for it as well! Yuck! 😝

  6. Teresa Robeson 1 year ago

    Vultures perform very important tasks of cleaning up dead waste so that the latter doesn’t fester and spread diseases. It’s why we love vultures! Watch out for black vultures, though; they like to rip windshield wipers off your cars. 😀 Yours is a very handsome fellow! <3

    • Author

      Yikes!! I’m now going to be terrified of black vultures!!!! Lol Though I’m not sure why as I’m not a car, nor do I sport windshield wipers so I’m likely safe from them. Thanks Teresa!! 💕😃So happy you liked him!!

  7. Jodi 1 year ago

    I love his beak and his boa – oh wait – we are on “V” not “B”! 🙂 Very vividly vonderful! 🙂

  8. Oh he is a grumpy one! A bit Vampish, I’d say! 😀 Love it, Charlie! Terrific expression & personality. OOH! Woodchuck! Would be Wonderful! hehe Walrus Will Work <3

    • Author

      Thanks Laura!! Hehe💕😃 Yeah he’s an interesting creature…certainly ticked about something! And I have no idea quite yet on “W” it’s my last chance with options! Lol

  9. Nancy 1 year ago

    Yes, indeed, a very necessary creature and you have managed to make him look…almost handsome….I still don’t think I would want one as a pet though.😊

    • Author

      Haha! I’m with you there, Nancy! 😉he’s a little too gross to pet I’d think. You just never can tell where that head has been. Lol

  10. memadtwo 1 year ago

    He is rather dapper. Yet stern.
    Walrus, yes! (K)

  11. Sharon Mann 1 year ago

    Hi Charlie, a charmingly ugly vulture, interesting facts, too. I love the painting techniques and beak is outstanding! A walrus would be cute for W.

    • Author

      Thanks Sharon!! 💕😃Glad you liked the beak…it seemed liked the most defining feature so I hoped I’d get it right.

  12. Kari 1 year ago

    I’m certainly glad vultures are around to handle the gross stuff. And what a handsome vulture he is! Hmmm.. A walrus, or how about a wombat? Wooly mammoth? A wolf? Lol. I can’t believe it’s almost March!

    • Author

      Thanks Kari!! 💕😃Yeah…good they’re here to deal with all the gross stuff. Hehe… And I did consider a wooly mammoth, but I have to admit to thinking a chubby walrus might be cute. But we’ll see!

  13. Carol 1 year ago

    A face only a (vulture) mother could love. Pretty colors, and I like that he is fancy enough to wear a boa 😉

    • Author

      He is really fancy isn’t he?! Lol thanks Carol! 💕😃 Yeah…I think a vulture mother would be the only one to truly appreciate this mug! Lol

  14. M. L. Kappa 1 year ago

    You’ve got a pretty vulturish look going there, Charlie! And how about a wombat? Just seen a photo of one on another blog.

    • Author

      Thanks so much! Hehe…vulturish is about all you can do with these guys. And wombats are super cute!! I had to google them to remember what they looked like!

  15. Jill Kuhn 1 year ago

    Very vicious vulture, Charlie! He looks like he could write a rap song! Lol! 😜 As for w, I Vote for walrus. X – you get extra credit on this letter as I have no clue! Y is for Yak and Z for Zebra! Just my 2 cents! Sounds like you could write a song here… 😳 Look forward to seeing what YOU choose! Awesome Charlie! 🌈💕🎨🌟

    • Author

      Thanks Jill! 💕😃Haha….he DOES look like he’s about to break into a rap song!! Too funny! And yep…that’s pretty much the list from here on out! As for X, X Ray fish is about it for that one. I did see Xerus pop up on some other ABC charts, but that’s a bit of a stretch. Hehe…it’s the scientific name that nobody knows for African Ground Squirrel.

  16. I love him, I was lucky enough to meet a real vulture a few years ago, I arranged for some birds to visit our hospice. I used to think they are ugly, but the visit changed my mind, I have been converted to their beauty, and character…..also lucky to have got some lovely photos. I love your painting with his feather boa. Great ‘v’ choice

    • Author

      Thanks Rebecca! 💕😃Wow…that sounds so amazing! And what a wonderful thing to do for a hospice. I bet the photos of the vulture were great as well… They really are pretty interesting creatures.

  17. ann christina 1 year ago

    Wow, he looks like an angry maffia boss. The Godfather IV. 😉 Wonderful illustration, Charlie! 😊

  18. lizintheshed 1 year ago

    Hard to love a vulture, but you seem to have done it! Loving your methane fact!

    • Author

      Lol…Thanks!! 💕😃Yeah…I gave up on cute with this guy and just went for stern and distinguished. The methane thing is crazy, but I guess makes good sense!

  19. Cathe 1 year ago

    He is a very handsome fellow in his own right. And great appreciate for the job he does, even if its gross. How about a woodpecker…

    • Author

      Thanks so much Cathe!! 💕😃Yeah…glad something is doing that job, but ewwwwww! Hehe… And I didn’t even think of woodpecker!! That would be cool! Ugh! There’s so many options for W, my last chance to choose X, Y, Z are pretty much selected for me! Lol

  20. Cathe 1 year ago

    Should be “greatly appreciated”…tired Thursday morning…

  21. itsmyhusbandandme 1 year ago

    Looks a bit like me after an argument on the London Underground. Your Vulture rocks!
    JP

  22. kathiwerner 1 year ago

    Nice fellow with his collar. What about a whale?

    • Author

      Thanks so much Kathrin!! I considered a whale, but ultimately tried to doodlewash a walrus… which was kind of tough! hehe

  23. Teri C 1 year ago

    Awesome sketch! Wow

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