Saturday, August 6, 2016

Black Vulture!

What kind of bird did Max see? The best birder I know and amazing friend Wendy in Kansas got to the answer first: a group of black vultures!

Black vulture in flight! Copyright

Black vultures live year round as north as Pennsylvania and as south as Patagonia. They are frequently in large groups, have a black bald head, and white wing patches that can be tough to see.  They are raptors as you know, and like all vultures are usually scavenging and eating carcasses (someone's gotta do it!).

Chillin. Thanks Wikipedia

Thanks for all the guesses! When I first saw the photo Max sent, my first thought was double-crested cormorant because it's the only bird I've ever seen sitting and drying their wings out, but the neck looked too short to be a cormorant. With more research I found out that anhingas and vultures also do this behavior, so then asked if the birds appeared bald. Max did some sleuthing on his own and on found out that someone else had seen a large group of black vultures in the same area and this confirmed our identification.

Double-crested cormorant. Copyright AllAboutBirds
Size and shape, color pattern, behavior, and habitat were all used to correctly identify this bird! It came down to a bald, black, large bird in a big flock fanning out its wings in Pennsylvania in the summer time. Voila!


1 comment:

hmm said...

There are so many cormorants in the lake near my house - photographer goals in the area appear to be to line up as many different birds in one shot as possible.