Black vulture

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Black Vulture
Black vulture.jpg
Scientific classification
Kingdom Information
Domain Eukaryota
Kingdom Animalia
Subkingdom Bilateria
Phylum Information
Phylum Chordata
Sub-phylum Vertebrata
Infraphylum Gnathostomata
Class Information
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Aves
Sub-class Neornithes
Order Information
Order Cathartiformes
Family Information
Family Cathartidae
Sub-family Cathartinae
Genus Information
Genus Coragyps
Species Information
Species C. atratus
Population statistics
Conservation status Least concern[1]

The black vulture (Coragyps atratus) is a bird of prey of the family Cathartidae, and found throughout much the Americas.


The black vulture has a body length of 22 to 29 inches, a wing span of 52 to 62 inches and is 2.4 to 4.1 pounds in weight. Its plumage is brilliantly black, with a naked dark gray head and neck. It has very wide, relatively short wings and a short tail; in flight it is distinguished from turkey vultures by the relatively flat plane of the wings, versus the shallow "V" held by the other birds. In standing, the tips of the folded wings reach to the tip of the tail. The legs and the beak are gray, the iris dark. In young birds the beak is uniformly gray, the plumage does not shine. The skin of the head is black and slightly wrinkled.

The black vulture is sociable and mainly feeds on carrion, but also kills prey on occasion. They live in open and wooded landscapes as well as hilly areas up to an altitude of about 8,000 feet. It occurs in the southern United States, in Mexico (except Baja California), and Central and South America, as far south as southern Argentina and Chile.


  • Coragyps atratus atratus, North American black vulture; southern United States west to Arizona, south to Panama.
  • Coragyps atratus brasiliensis, South American black vulture; central, northern and eastern South America.
  • Coragyps atratus foetens, Andean black vulture; Ecuador to Chile and Argentina.


The propagation time of black vultures varies with the geographical latitude. Usually two eggs are laid on ledges or tree cavities; no nests are constructed. Eggs hatch between 28 and 41 days, and the chicks are fed by both parents for about two months until fledging.