Black Vulture – Accepted

1. 13 Apr 1972


Chico BUT



Fig. 93

2. 19 Sep 1993–09 Feb 1994


Arcata HUM



Fig. 94, ph., AB 48:149

3. 08–09 Oct 2003


Arcata HUM





Black Vulture – Not accepted, identification not established

05 Sep 1977


vic. Parker Dam SBE





Black Vulture – Not submitted






14 May 1953


~20 mi. e Sacramento SAC



AFN 7:289








Figure 93. This rough (but convincing) sketch of a Black Vulture, made at Chico, Butte County, at the time of discovery on 13 April 1972, supported the state’s first record (1972-012; Tim Manolis).



Figure 94. California’s second Black Vulture, and the first to be photographed, soaring above a Common Raven at Arcata, Humboldt County, 19 September 1993 (1993-141; Ron LeValley).







Black Vulture

BLACK VULTURE Coragyps atratus (Bechstein, 1793)

Accepted: 3 (75%)

Treated in Appendix H: no

Not accepted: 1

CBRC review: all records

Not submitted/reviewed: 1

Color image: none

This small vulture occupies the central and southeastern United States, from central Texas eastward. Its range has gradually expanded northward (Buckley 1999) and now includes parts of Ohio and Massachusetts. Although the species is generally considered to be resident, some of its northernmost populations are partially migratory, and wanderers are found with some regularity north to the Great Lakes region and southeastern Canada, exceptionally to northern Ontario. This species colonized Arizona in the 1920s, spread throughout the south-central part of that state by the 1960s (Rea 1998), and has recently expanded northward to the Phoenix area (Corman and Wise-Gervais 2005). The range extends southward through Middle America and South America to Tierra del Fuego. Northwesterly vagrants have been found four times in southern British Columbia (3 May 1975, 23 September 1976, 25 June 1981, and 16 June 1982) and once in southwestern Yukon (2 July 1982; Sinclair et al. 2003).

The 13 April 1972 record of a Black Vulture in Chico, Butte County (Figure 93)—the first reported occurrence of this species in California—circulated three times during a span of 25 years before the CBRC finally endorsed it as involving a naturally occurring vagrant. Northern California’s three records and the five from western Canada establish a pattern of very rare, but seemingly natural, northerly wandering across the West.

A 10 March 2005 query of the International Species Information System yielded listings of 50 captive Black Vultures at zoos or other participating institutions in North America, including six in southern California, two in northern California, and one each in Arizona and Utah.


[SWALLOW-TAILED KITE Elanoides forficatus (Linnaeus, 1758) – see hypothetical section]