The Black Vulture is entirely black, with a black, featherless head and small, whitish bill. In flight, the Black Vulture is easily told from the Turkey Vulture by its short wedge-shaped tail and white underwing patches. The Black Vulture can measure up to 25 inches in length. They are often found in large numbers at carcasses, or roosting on a conspicuous perch such as a dead tree or electrical tower. Despite their smaller size, they are more aggressive than Turkey Vultures and will drive them away from dead animals.
Black Vultures eat carrion (dead animals). They will also congregate at garbage dumps and will occasionally attack and kill newborn or incapacitated animals.
Habitat and Range
Black Vultures are found throughout much of the United States, south of New York State. They have recently been extending their range north, and have become so numerous in some areas that they are considered pests. Black Vultures are also found throughout Mexico, Central America, and much of South America.
Female Black Vultures lay 2 to 3 eggs in a hollow log or wooded area. They do not build nests. Both parents, who regurgitate food from their crops, feed the young. Black Vultures also regurgitate food when they are approached and, like all vultures, defecate on their legs to keep cool.
Populations of Black Vultures are stable and increasing in most areas.