Black Vulture: Large raptor, black overall, short, featherless neck, pale bill, short and squared tail, long, pale gray legs and feet. Gray-black skin on head and neck is wrinkled. White-tipped wings, held horizontal in flight. Soars on thermals, must flap its wings more often than a Turkey Vulture.
Range and Habitat
Black Vulture: Resident in southeastern U.S. and Texas, south to the tropics; preferred habitats include open country, but breeds in woodlands and thickets.
The Black Vulture is a scavenger bird located in southeastern United States, central Chile and South America. It feeds on carrion, eggs and small animals, and sometimes garbage in areas populated by humans. Its only form of vocalization is a grunt or hiss, and typically nests in caves, hollow trees or on the bare ground. Evidence of the species has been found rampant in historical Mayan hieroglyphics. It normally stays within its normal range year-round, but some may migrate short distances in the winter. Populations of the Black Vulture have remained relatively stable, and they remain classified as Least Concern.
A lone bird is no match for the slightly larger Turkey Vulture. But they are commonly found in flocks which can easily drive away the more solitary Turkey Vulture.
The Black Vulture’s scientific name comes from korax, the Greek word for raven; gyps, which means vulture; and from the Latin word atratus, meaning to be clothed in black, as in mourning. The common name, Vulture, comes from the Latin vulturus meaning “tearer.”
Unlike Turkey Vultures, this species depends upon its vision to find food.
A group of vultures has many collective nouns, including a "cast", "committee", "meal", "vortex", and "wake" of vultures.