Black Vulture Coragyps atratus

  • Order: Cathartiformes
  • Family: Cathartidae
  • Polytypic: 3 subspecies
  • Authors needed...

The Black Vulture is among the most common, widespread and easily visible of all American birds. It is particularly common in disturbed, agricultural and open areas from the United States as far south as central-southern Chile! Essentially, the Black Vulture is present throughout except for Canada, much of the West of the United States, and Patagonia. It is often found with the Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) but can be differentiated from it due to the Black Vulture’s shorter tail, black head, and shorter straighter wings which it holds more horizontally. In addition, the bases of the primaries are pale on the Black Vulture, creating a pale panel on the outer wing that facilitates identification. Turkey Vultures have a great sense of smell which they use during their search for food. Black Vultures, on the other hand, lack olfaction. Thus, they are more gregarious and usually rely on more dependable food resources.

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© Gregory Budney

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: