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Black Vulture

Black Vulture
Photo Information
Copyright: Bill Houghton (poppygan59) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 237 W: 0 N: 344] (2516)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2005-03-21
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon EOS10D, Canon EF300mm 4/L IS
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/500 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2012-12-29 13:23
Viewed: 2753
Points: 18
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
The gregarious black vulture roosts, feeds, and soars in groups, often mixed with turkey vultures. A carrion feeder that will bully a turkey vulture away from a carcass, it occasionally kills smaller live prey. Polytypic (3 ssp.; nominate in North America). Length 25" (64 cm); wingspan 57" (145 cm).

Identification Adult: glossy black feathers can show iridescence in the right light. Whitish inner primaries often hard to see on the folded wing. Whitish legs contrast with dark gray head color. Skin of head wrinkled; bill dark at base and tipped ivory or yellowish. Juvenile: black body and wing feathers usually duller, less iridescent. Skin of head smooth, darker black than an adult. Flight: conspicuous white or silvery patches at base of primaries that contrast with black wings, body, and tail. Whitish legs extend almost to tip of relatively short tail. Soars and glides with wings held in a slight dihedral. If seen at a distance, the quick, shallow, choppy wingbeats interspersed with glides are usually enough for an identification.

Similar Species The turkey vulture shows silvery inner secondaries and a pronounced dihedral while in flight, along with a deeper, more fluid wingbeat.

Voice Hisses when threatened.

Status and Distribution Abundant in the Southeast, expanding up the East Coast into southern New England. Less common in southern Great Plains, local in southern Arizona. Breeding: nests in a sheltered area on the ground, including abandoned buildings. Migration: sedentary, northern breeders, may migrate with turkey vultures to warmer winter territory. Vagrant: casual to California, northern New England, and southern Canada.

Population The species adapts well to human presence, feeding on road kills and at garbage dumps.

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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2012-12-29 15:29]

Hi Bill,magnificent in-flight capture whit a spectacular wings position,great details of the plumage too,not easy whit this colors and this light,beautiful scenary in background too.Have a nice Sunday and thanks,Luciano

Hello Bill,
I love in-flight captures, and I know how it's difficult to make a very good image. Here, I love particularly the composition and the sharpness of the bird in contrast with the blurred background. The attitude is very beautiful too.
Last, the exposition is perfect, it's not so easy with a black bird.
It's a very beautiful picture. Tfs,Philippe.

  • Great 
  • tree Silver Star Critiquer [C: 28 W: 0 N: 14] (8)
  • [2012-12-29 18:49]

Hi Bill,
Excellent picture. The lighting is perfect and the details are outstanding. It is such a crisp photo that you can tell the different shades of black.TFS

Another impressive bird Bill! Impressive photo too! Very good composition, wonderful colours and great sharpness!
My best wishes for the New Year


This is a fabulous shot. Just enough focus on the BG to enhance the focal point (vulture), yet not distract from it. The focus on the vulture is exceptional ... you even caught the eye. Bravo.


Hi Bill,
Yet another beautiful image of a bird in flight and in perfect composition. Very well done indeed.

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2012-12-30 0:43]

Hello Bill,
Excellent photo of this Black Vulture in great sharpness, details and a perfect composition. Good timing.
Wish you and your loved ones a Happy and Healthy New Year.

Hallo Bill
Your inflight photos is always such a pleasure to look at and really appreciate for the great camerawork behind it all. This Black Vulture with its wide openend and impressive wingspan is really a beauty and everything little detail of this huge bird is beautifully seen. I like the water and blurred trees that is part of your backdrop. Thanks for sharing. Best regards.

Hi Bill,
Fantastic action shot with great sharpness on the vulture (and in contrast with the bird beautiful background blur), excellent exposition and nice colors. I also like the way you used the available light very much. Majestic job. Bravo!
Have a great new year, best regards, László

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