American Black Vulture

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image: AmerBlackVulture.jpg

Common Name: American Black Vulture
Scientific Name: Coragyps atratus

Size: 24-27 inches (60-68 cm); Wingspan 54-59 inches (137-150 cm)

Habitat: North and South America; a resident from southern New York and southern Ohio southward through Texas to Central and South America.

Status: Least Concern. Global Population: 20,000,000 mature individuals.

Diet: Wide variety of carrion, from small mammals to dead cows. Also, some insects, other invertebrates and some fruit.

Nesting: Sexes look alike; Immature is similar to adult, but head darker and without wrinkled skin. It lays its eggs in caves or hollow trees or on the bare ground, and generally raises two chicks each year. Chicks are naked at hatching and later grow down. The parents feed the young by regurgitation. The young are helpless and fledge in 2 to 3 months.

Cool Facts: Its featherless head reduces bacterial growth from eating carrion. The American Black Vulture, as well as the King Vulture, have the weakest sense of smell of the New World Vultures and rely of more on vision like their “Old World” counterparts. Black Vultures flap their wings frequently while soaring.

No New World Vulture possesses a syrinx (vocal organ), so they instead make a series of soft hisses and barks.

Black Vultures rarely travel alone; flocks of Black Vultures can quickly take over a carcass and drive the more solitary, but larger Turkey Vultures away.

The American Black Vulture and the King Vulture appear in a variety of Maya hieroglyphics in Mayan codices. In Mayan codices, the American Black Vulture is normally connected with death or shown as a bird of prey, and its glyph is often depicted attacking humans.


Found in Songbird ReMix Vultures

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