Birds of Prey - Vultures
The family Accipitridae is a family of birds of prey and include hawks, eagles, kites, harriers and Old World vultures. These birds have very large powerful hooked beaks for tearing flesh from their prey, strong legs, powerful talons, and keen eyesight. There are 233 species world wide, 28 North American species, and 19 Florida species.
The more southern of our two common vulture species, the Black Vulture flaps its wings rather frequently while it soars. It is more social than the Turkey Vulture, often traveling in large flocks.
The Black Vulture roosts in dense forests with large trees, and searches open spaces for carrion. Black Vultures are more common in flat lowlands than in higher elevations. They often soar higher than Turkey Vultures and gather in large numbers at roadkill and other carrion.
The Black Vulture feeds mainly on carrion, although it also scavenges fish, vegetable material, and dung. Occasionally, Black Vultures attack small live prey, or in larger groups may attack lambs or newborn pigs. The Black Vulture relies on others in their group to warn them about approaching danger while eating; this allows them to eat particularly quickly.
The Black Vulture lays its eggs in isolated locations with little human disturbance. They find a dark recess in a cave, abandoned building, thicket, pile of rocks, or in a hollow log or tree. A pair of Black Vultures may assure themselves of the site’s isolation by perching nearby for a period of weeks before egg-laying. Instead of building a nest, the Black Vulture lays its eggs on the bare ground of the chosen nest site. Parents incubate the young equally.
•One-on-one, a Black Vulture can be dominated by the slightly larger Turkey Vulture. But, Black Vultures rarely travel alone. Flocks of Black Vultures can quickly take over a carcass and drive the more solitary Turkey Vultures away.