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North American Animals - mamals, birds, reptiles, insects

 Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)




Black Vulture | Coragyps atratus photo
Black Vulture, Laguna Atascosa National Wildlife Refuge, Cameron County, Texas

Photograph by Alan And Elaine Wilson. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

Black Vulture | Coragyps atratus photo
Black Vulture, near Austwell, Texas

Photograph by Alan And Elaine Wilson. Some rights reserved.  (view image details)

BLACK VULTURE FACTS

Description
The American Black Vulture is a large glossy black vulture. The head and neck are bare with dark gray wrinkled skin. The legs are pale gray. The feet are flat and not adapted to grasping prey. It is a soaring bird with broad wings with large pale patch at tip. The tail is short and square. Males and females look similar. Juveniles are similar to adults but have darker heads and no skin wrinkles. The Turkey Vulture is similar but has a red head, longer wings with silver color along the wings, longer tail, and soars with infrequent flapping.

Size
length 60cm - 68cm. Wingspan 137cm - 150cm. Weight 1.6kg - 2.2kg.

Environment
open woodland, forest, shrubland, grassland, wetlands, farmland. Rarely seen in mountainous areas. Often seen soaring or perched on fence posts or dead trees.

Food
mainly carrion, also some garbage, eggs, decomposing plant material. It will kill new-born or wakened animals.

Breeding
The American Black Vulture nests on the ground in hollow log, or cavity in wooded area. Nest is usually within 3m of the ground. The nesting area may be decorated with colored plastic, glass, or metal items. Lays a clutch of one to three (usually two) eggs which hatch after incubation of 28 to 41 days. The eggs are gray-green, bluish, or white blotched or spotted with purple or pale brown around the larger end. The young fledge after 75 to 80 days.

Range
found in eastern United States from southern New York and southern Ohio south to Texas. Range extends through most of Mexico to Central America and South America.

Classification
Class:Aves
Order:Ciconiiformes
Family:Cathartidae
Genus:Coragyps
Species:atratus
Common Name:Black Vulture