American Black Vulture

Basic Information

The black vulture range goes from southeastern North America through Mexico extending down into South America. Their habitat is most commonly in open country and it roosts in large congregations in secluded woods. Black vultures do not build nests. They will lay their eggs in a cave, between large rocks, at a base of a tree, or in a hollow stump. They generally lay two eggs and both parents take turns incubating the eggs. After 38 to 45 days the eggs will hatch. At three months the birds will fledge but will stay with the parents in a social group for years.

It uses sight to locate food. Black vultures feed on “carrion” referring to the carcasses of dead animals. They also feed on eggs, at times in garbage dumps, and newborn animals. Farmers will often watch the skies when they need to locate one of their cows giving birth. The vultures fly high above the cow keeping their eyes out for afterbirth. Black vultures usually feed together and are so aggressive other vultures will stay away.

The Black Vulture is protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act.

Fun Facts

  • Vultures frequently regurgitate their food to reduce body weight, and allow take off in the event of an emergency or as a form of defense.
  • Vultures will often urinate on their own legs to cool themselves off in the summer months. This is known as Urohydrosis.
  • Black vultures may live up to 25 years.