Birding: The Turkey Vulture

The Turkey Vulture – Georgia’s protected Birds of Prey

The Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus) is also known as the American Black Vulture. It is a bird in the New World vulture family, whose range extends from the Southeastern United States to South America. It is a fairly large bird that measures 56–74 cm (22–29 in) in length, with a wingspan of 1.33–1.67 m (52–66 in).

Black Vultures are scavengers, they feed on carrion, but will also eat eggs or kill newborn animals. It is the only vulture that preys on newborn cattle. This is one reason why these birds are occasionally feared by ranchers when seen in larger numbers. The Mayans used the Black Vulture in a variety of their hieroglyphics, often symbolizing either death or birds of prey. The vulture’s glyph is often shown attacking humans.

Cattle hunting Vultures – Gregarious birds foraging in groups Black Vultures are protected birds that nest on the ground in wooded areas, in hollow logs, seldom higher than 3 meters above the ground. The Black Vulture may decorate his nesting area with bits of colored plastic, shards of glass, or metal items such as shiny bright bottle caps.

Black Vultures differ mainly in the color of their head being red and obviously more white coloring under their wings.