Some types of cultures (African and Asian) don’t have any sense of smell, because they have descended from hawks and eagles. In fact most birds do not have any sense of smell. American vultures (the turkey vulture, the black vulture, Andean and California condor, and king vulture) can smell though. The turkey vulture has an especialy good sense of smell used to find food. They have even been known to sense gas leaks in pipelines.
Lilykosmicki is totally right.
Black vultures have no sense of smell and compensate for that by having keen sight and awful manners. I will explain this after I talk about turkey vultures.
Turkey vutures have a decent sense of smell, although there is still a lot of debate over this. The evidence lies with experiments where different “aged” food was left for the vultures and their ability to find it correlated with the amount of smell it produced. Contrary to popular belief, they prefer their food as fresh as possible but cannot detect the smell of a fresh carcass.
So, turkey vultures fly low, smelling the food (but also using their awful sonic and visual skills). Black vultures fly higher and stalk the turkey vultures. After following the turkey vultures, the black vulture often will chase the turkey vulture away despite them being the same size. Bastards.
There is also the huge king vulture, Sarcoramphus papa. He has no sense of smell, flies even higher and uses the other vultures to lead him to food and then chases them off. Think of him as the walmart of the vultures.
I would not say that turkey vultures have a particularly good sense of smell, and I do not believe anyone really knows the answer.
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