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Birds of Prey Animal Fact Sheet
BLACK VULTURE
Coragyps atratus

Range:
Common year round in the south but does not go too far north, also found in South America Song consists of hisses and grunts. Often seen soaring for hours in search of food or just soaring in the thermals, travel in groups referred to as "kettles". Uses the turkey vulture's keen sense of smell to find food: will follow the turkey vultures to food and then steal it from them; also seen around cities and towns where it cleans up all the road kill, hence the nicknames "clean-up crew" and "nature's garbage men."

Vultures are very intelligent and social animals, their curiosity can get them into trouble in the wild. Head is bald to keep it clean and prevent disease, they eat the insides of carrion first and feathers would make it all get stuck on their head!

Self defense is to projectile vomit on anything seen as a threat. They poop down their legs to cool off (poop evaporates as it hits the air thus lowering body temp) as well as to kill off bacteria (stomach acids are strong for eating rotten meet so poop is quite acidic too). This is why their legs are white.


Habitat: Open country, urban areas
Diet: Carrion, may take sick/dying animals
Status: Least Concern (IUCN)
Approximate Dimensions of Adult: Medium size, stocky, New World vulture weighing about 5-8 lbs, with a length of 25 inches and wingspan of 59 inches. Head is dark gray and lacks typical feathers, instead it is covered in short, modified "peach fuzz" feathers, body feathers are black with silver wing tips seen in flight, tail is very short.
Lifespan: N/A
Reproduction & Offspring: Lays 1-2 blotchy whitish eggs on bare ground or sheltered under a rock, on a ledge or in a cave; eggs are incubated for about 40 days and young leave the nest about 10-11 weeks after hatching

 

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