October 20, 2016 – American Black Vulture, Black Vulture, or Zopilote negro (Coragyps atratus)

Requested by: @ghourlock

One of the most abundant vulture species in the Western Hemisphere, these birds are found from the eastern and southeastern United States, south through most of Mexico, Central America, and South America. Eating mostly carrion, they often locate food by following Turkey Vultures, which have a superior sense of smell. Groups may drive Turkey Vultures away from a carcass, even though they appear to be smaller birds. Black Vultures also sometimes hunt skunks, opossums, night-herons, turtle hatchlings, and young livestock and eat refuse from dumpsters and landfills. They nest in caves, tree hollows, abandoned buildings, brush piles, thickets, and stumps, usually returning to the same nest site year after year. Monogamous, they tend to stay with their mates for many years and have strong familial bonds. In the evenings they join communal roosts, often attacking unrelated birds at the roosts and at food sources.


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