Birds – The Black Vulture

(Catharista urubu) is found throughout the whole of tropical and warm-temperate America, ranging south to Argentina and Chile, and north regularly to North Carolina and the lower Mississippi Valley. It is the only member of its genus, being from twenty-three to twenty-seven inches in length and having a spread of wings of about four and one-half feet. In color it is uniform dull black, with the shafts of the quill-feathers white. The naked skin of the head and fore neck is dusky, thus distinguishing it at once from the Turkey Vulture.

The habits of the Black Vulture are in some respects similar to those of the first-mentioned species, but “it is not nearly so graceful a bird on the wing as the latter, its flight being much heavier and apparently laborious, and is accomplished by considerable flappings of the wings.” The Black Vulture is apparently more or less gregarious in its habits at all seasons of the year and undoubtedly depends much more on its keen sight than its sense of smell in finding its food. They breed frequently in communities, making little or no nest, and the eggs, usually two in number, are always placed on the ground, under bushes, old logs, or occasionally in perfectly open situations. The eggs are similar to those of the Turkey Vulture except that the ground color is a pale gray-green.