Hawk-like Birds

Black Vulture Black Vulture
Coragyps atratus


22-24" (56-61 cm). W. 4'6" (1.4 m). Black, with white patch near each wing tip, conspicuous in flight; head bare, grayish; feet extend beyond the short tail. Flaps its shorter and rounder wings more often and more rapidly than Turkey Vulture.


Open country, but breeds in light woodlands and thickets.


2 white or gray-green eggs, blotched with brown, laid under a bush, in a hollow log, under large rocks, or in a cave.


Resident from western Texas and Arkansas north and east to New Jersey (rarely to Massachusetts and Maine) and south to Florida. Also in American tropics.

Black Vulture


Hisses or grunts; seldom heard.


Black Vultures are scavengers that feed on carrion, but they also take weak, sick, or unprotected young birds and mammals. They soar in a group, alternately flapping and gliding, until one of them discovers carrion, whereupon all the others converge on the find. They are smaller but more aggressive than Turkey Vultures and will drive the latter from a carcass. Both species are often found perched in trees, on fence posts, and on the ground, or flying high overhead, especially on windy days, taking advantage of thermals or updrafts. Unlike Turkey Vultures, Black Vultures depend on their vision to find food.