Black Vulture

Creature Features

Large with broad wings, a short tail and a small head. Entirely black except for silvery patches on the underside of the wingtips. Note splayed wingtips or “ fingers” in flight.

Mostly carrion. Feeds on carcasses of dead animals of all sizes. At times also eats eggs of other birds, turtles, lizards. May kill and eat young of some birds and turtles. Also eats some plant material, such as coconuts and rotting vegetables.

In courtship display, birds may spiral high in air. On ground, male may walk in circles around female, with neck extended, making hissing sounds. Nest site is on ground in thicket, inside hollow log or in large tree cavity up to several feet above ground.

Fun Facts

  • Other Names: American Black Vulture
  • Scientific Name: Coragyps atratus
  • Conservation Status: Least concern
  •  Lifespan: 10 years in the wild
  • Body Length: 23 to 26 inches
  • Wingspan: 53 to 59 inches
  •  Weight: 56 to 77 ounces
  •  Incubation: 37 to 41 days
  • Number of eggs: 2 rarely 1 or 3
  • Habitat: Open areas within forested landscapes

Did You Know?

Black vultures lack a syrinx – the vocal organ of birds – so its only vocalizations are grunts or low hisses. They are often seen standing in a spread-winged stance. The stance is believed to serve multiple functions: drying the wings, warming the body, and baking off bacteria.