Two subspecies recognized:
burrovianus, described as Cathartes burrovianus Cassin 1845; type locality near Veracruz City, Mexico
Occurs from eastern and southern Mexico, south to central Colombia and northwestern Venezuela
urubutinga, described as Cathartes urubutinga Pelzeln 1861; type locality Forte do Rio Bronco, Roraima, Brazil
Occurs in South America east of the Andes, from southeastern Colombia and central and eastern Venezuela south to Paraguay, northern Argentina, and Uruguay.
Similar to nominate burrovianus, but larger (wing length 457-509 mm; Wetmore 1964).
Wetmore (1964) acknowledged that variation in size in this species was clinal, and that the recognition of two subspecies was arbitrary.