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Black Vulture

Black Vulture
Photo Information
Copyright: Alan Turvey (liquidsunshine) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1878 W: 112 N: 1560] (5437)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-04-10
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS 300 D, Sigma 50-500mm f/4-6.3 EX APO RF, Hoya skylight (1B)
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/400 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Vultures [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2005-04-11 13:03
Viewed: 3946
Points: 38
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I think I might move, go and live at whipsnade, I spend so much time there.
This is the American Black Vulture, not the most attractive bird, I'm amazed a bird this ugly can find a mate!
This Vulture is part of the Whipsnade bird display, which is fairly enjoyable, if you frequently oil your neck.

The Black Vulture is most frequently seen in the warmer parts of the western hemisphere from roughly Washington DC to central Patagonia. It is not normally found in higher mountains or more desolate deserts and steppe areas.
It is probably the most most numerous bird of prey in the Western hemisphere, occupying a niche similar to that of the black kite in the Old World - scavenging from rubbish tips and the like and occurring in very large numbers around towns and cities in tropical and sub-tropical America, wherever garbage or offal is available (especially around slaughter-houses and the like)

Their main food is carrion, but they also kill some young or defenceless wild or domestic animals.
They spend much time in the area of refuse tips and slaughter-houses, or anywhere meat in any form (fresh or putrid)is available.
They also eat eggs and, if pressed, ripe and rotten fruit and vegetables, including oil palm nuts.

Status and behaviour in the wild
The American Black Vulture (in America most vultures are referred to as buzzards , although it is important to notice the distinction between these and the buzzards we know) is probably the most numerous bird of prey in the Western Hemisphere (globally, the black kite is the most successful) and it is not unusual to see two or three hundred gathering at the carcase of a large animal, with thirty or forty at one time struggling for food, whilst others wait on, frequently soaring overhead. Other small vultures, like turkey vultures, will give way before them.
They also nest socially, soaring in large numbers, with pairs breaking off to do their own mating display.
The clearest point of recognition in flight is their conspicuous white underwing patch.

The American black vulture is a small vulture which, in captivity, with access to medical care, regular food and, of course, no threat from predators or humans may enjoy a life expectancy in excess of 30 years.
Their actual life expectancy in the wild depends on a number of factors, including availability of food, disease, predation, persecution etc.
An average life-span for one of these birds in the wild is unlikely to be more than about 5 years, although many live longer, and even more live much less than that!

Notes from www.hawk-conservancy.org

Thanks for looking

TAZ, coasties, scottevers7, sAner, pompey, Fisher, PDP, marhowie, Toni, zenitlady, ellis49, gerhardt, carper, thistle, hummingbird24, Callie has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • TAZ Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2241 W: 47 N: 3167] (10926)
  • [2005-04-11 13:06]

Belle et intéressante composition photographique pour ce gros Vautour impressionnant ! Bonne netteté. Super note...
Well done !

Perfect! Composition,framing,sharp detail, and color..on the money..Great Shot, and excellent notes.

  • Great 
  • pompey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 144 W: 4 N: 746] (2774)
  • [2005-04-11 14:51]

Great shot Alan, it ticks all of the boxes.
Good POV, DOF, colours, details and note.

  • Great 
  • Fisher Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1540 W: 309 N: 2234] (8915)
  • [2005-04-11 15:31]

In flight, it's beautiful. I like the underside view.
Excelent capture and well done on this composition.


  • Great 
  • PDP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 2821 W: 344 N: 3779] (11769)
  • [2005-04-11 16:29]

Excellent shot Alan. Don't move to the zoo! We have so much wildlife that's worth cpaturing and although you can't get as many shots as the zoo it's very rewarding when you get something nice. Beautiful shot, lovely details and a sharpness.

  • Great 
  • japie Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1814 W: 100 N: 1904] (5187)
  • [2005-04-11 17:05]

I wonder what he thinks you look like :) You blacks are very well exposed and the image is nice and sharp

Very well done and thanks for posting

Alan, I really like this pose with left wing drawn-down..Excellent details, sharpness and control of light. Very well done!

  • Great 
  • Toni Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 403 W: 2 N: 316] (2034)
  • [2005-04-11 17:26]

Great shot. Like the details of his feathers and the composition. Well done.

Very good pose! You have captured the sheen on the oily feathers, nicely. Notes are excellent! Not a beauty, but very necessary for the environment, and a worthy capture! Well done!

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2005-04-11 20:24]

Wonderful shot of this vulture, Alan! Very sharp details, beautiful colors, excellent exposure and composition. Great picture. : )

  • Great 
  • livios Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2150 W: 319 N: 4263] (16942)
  • [2005-04-11 23:26]

Alan, I do enjoy vultures, and you did a great job here. Congratulations. According to you, they're not the most attractive birds, but I think that's exactly what I find nice about them...

Excellent contrast, pose, pov, dof and sharpness. Another perfect shot.

I added your photo to a theme of mine.

Very nice picture Alan.
Very good exposure, lots of details in the plumage.
The sharpness, colours and note are also very good.
Well done.

Great note Alan. He is a great looking bird. I don't find him ugly, well, maybe, just a bit. The strong definition around his feather line and face makes it look as if he is wearing a mask. Good sharpness and great detail captured against an excellent OOF BG, Nice work. TFS.

Fantastic shot. The blacks are not really that black, more a browny/greenish colour :) your are right, he is ugly, poor thing. But is shows you again, that their is a partner for everybody out there :)


  • Great 
  • sAner Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1455 W: 74 N: 1426] (4750)
  • [2005-04-12 6:35]

Excellent capture Alan! This is perfect. Very, very good exposure, great composition and razorsharp details. Great POV & DOF. This IS good. TFS!

WOW! I have precisely this shot. Also taken at a "oiling the neck" session here in SA. :) Your exposure of this dark bird is very impressive here. Very sharp too. Excellent capture, Alan.

Very good shot Alan!
I still can't understand why some of you thing that Vultures are ugly. Maybe they aren't so cute like Robins, but they are no doubt beautiful (in a bit other way).
As for the shot: as always perfect quality and very good POV and composition.
I like it very much.
Well done!

Actually, as vultures go, this one is not bad looking. I have seen worse.
You have done a wonderful job capturing him and his beautiful plumage. Good composition POV, detail and note. Thank you Alan.

  • Great 
  • Callie Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1101 W: 95 N: 2610] (7555)
  • [2005-04-24 11:11]

Hi Alan
A real beauty, great detail in the plumage, the second post her on TN, I think. Very nice POV too, TFS

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