Size: Black Vultures are 22-28 inches long, have a wingspan of 4 1/2-5 1/2 feet, and weigh 4-5 pounds.
Diet: These vultures scavenge for carrion but have also been known to take sick, small, or unprotected young mammals and birds. Along with their red-headed cousins, Turkey Vultures, these birds can sometimes be seen walking through freshly cut hay fields in search of dead mice and rabbits that were killed during mowing and are deteriorating.
Lifespan: They usually live about 5 years in the wild, but can live over 20 years in captivity.
Reproduction: Breeding occurs around 3 years of age. Black Vultures do not build nests. Two eggs are laid in a cave, at the base of a tree, in a hollow tree or log, between large rocks, or sometimes under a bush. Incubation is done by both parents for 38-45 days. Young vultures fledge around 3 months of age but often stay with their parents as part of a social group for years.
Did You Know
- Black Vultures can be distinguished from Turkey Vultures by white patches near their wing tips and by noting that their wings are held flat in flight.
- Black Vultures have no voice box but can be heard hissing and grunting.
- New World Vultures (which include Black and Turkey Vultures) differ from Old World Vultures in that the former rely heavily on their sense of smell to find food.