Scientific name Coragyps atratus

Order: Falconiformes

Husbandry Information

Housing Requirements

  • If fully flighted this species requires enough space to spread its wings and fly short distances. Raptor mews work well.

Diet Requirements

  • Whole foods are best (rats, mice), Bird of Prey diet can also be used

Veterinary Concerns

Notes on Enrichment & Training

  • Black vultures can be quite playful. Puzzle feeders work well as do any objects they can tug or carry such as browse. They will ingest random objects so use care when choosing toys.

Programmatic Information

Tips on Presentation

  • Can be trained to free-fly, or sit on the fist.

Tips on Handling

Potential Messaging

  • Present the importance of scavengers and the plight of many vulture species in the wild.

Acquisition Information

Comments from the Rating System

Natural History Information

Range and Habitat

Southern and Eastern US, most of Central and South America
Forested and open areas. Roosts in undisturbed stands of tall trees

Physical Description

Smaller than the turkey vulture. Skin on face and neck is dark grey. In flight it can be distinguished from the turkey vulture by the white undersides of the wing tips

Life Cycle

incubation period of 38-39 days, fledge at 70-98 days
Life expectancy of 10-12 years in the wild, 20+ years in zoos.


Black vultures are highly social. they will share food with relatives and feed their young for months after fledging.
A mated pare will stay together year-round.
Will often associate with turkey vultures and will sometimes follow them to food.

Threats and Conservation Status

IUCN- Least Concern

Did you know…


Contributors and Citations

  • Baton Rouge Zoo

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  • Activity Schedule: diurnal, nocturnal, crepuscular
  • Continent of Origin
  • Diet Requirements: carnivore, herbivore, omnivore, etc.
  • General Habitat/Biome: deserts, forests, mountains, etc.