Black Vultures

Black vultures fly high in the air searching for their preferred prey — carrion. They will occasionally eat live prey such as nestling birds, fishes, insects, and small reptiles. Unlike turkey vultures, black vultures cannot smell. As a solution to this problem, black vultures will follow turkey vultures to a carcass, and then displace the turkey vultures from their meal. Black vultures’ feather-free faces and ability to smooth down their neck feathers keeps their plumage pristine while they dine on carrion.

Black vultures are one of the many bird species soaring overhead during Blue Horizons.

Q: How big do they get?
SW: Black vultures reach heights of up to 27 inches and have a wingspan of 54 to 59 inches.

Q: Where do they live?
SW: They are found throughout the eastern and southeastern United States to southern South America.

Q: Are they endangered?
SW: Black vultures are not currently endangered, though they do face some threats. All birds of prey, including vultures, are particularly sensitive to pollutants in food, such as pesticides used to control rodent populations. Unfortunately, bird of prey numbers continue to decrease due to illegal shooting, pesticides, electrocution (from perching on power lines), and habitat loss.