Black Vultures are one of the three species of vultures found in North America. I was able to see and photograph this bird at the Turtle Bay “Walk On The Wild Side” animal show. They can be distinguished from the more common Turkey Vulture by their short square tail that barely projects beyond the rear edge of their wings.
Black Vultures lack the extraordinary sense of smell that Turkey Vultures possess and cannot find carrion by smell alone. Instead, they will follow Turkey Vultures to carcasses where they will accumulate rapidly and sometimes displace the Turkey Vultures.
Turkey Vulture photos by Larry Jordan
The Turkey Vulture is the most widely distributed and most common vulture in North America. The adults are readily identified by their naked red-skinned heads while the immature birds have dark heads. Turkey Vultures can also be identified in flight by their dihedral soaring posture and tilting, tipping flight pattern.
They may also be seen with their wings spread wide, warming up in the morning sun or congregating on a snag.
As one bird flew in to land on this snag, two others flew off, only to circle around and return a few minutes later. Turkey Vultures will often roost communally and can be seen flying together in large colony.
The only other North American Vulture is the California Condor. I have never seen one of these incredible birds but I will some day. They have been spotted on the Pacific Coast Highway in California recently by my friend Bob. You can see his post here.