• black vulture

    Common Nameblack vulture
    Scientific Namecoragyps atratus
    Type of ReportOut-of-Season
    Date of Observation12/20/2017
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    • Other Documentation of Observation
    Number Observed4
    Reporting Observer's NameFrank Rounds
    Mailing Address69 Bixby Hill Rd
    Essex Jct, VT 05452
    United States
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    EmailEmail hidden; Javascript is required.
    Date Completed12/30/2017
    Latitude of Observation0
    Longitude of Observation0
    Place NameFrank Rounds
    Time of Day12:30 PM
    Length of Time Observed10 minutes
    Maximum Estimated Distance from Bird (in feet)1200
    Minimum Estimated Distance from Bird (in feet)400
    Noteworthy Weather Conditions

    Overcast, low clouds. Can't remember temperature, but probably low 30's F.

    Optical Equipment Used for Observation

    Steiner 7x50 Rallye binoculars

    Observer’s Previous Acquaintance With This or Similar Species

    Have seen this bird in NJ on many visits.
    Easy to identify.

    I certify that that attachments included with this report were captured during this observation event​​.
    Description of Habitat

    mixed urban-industrial area with local meat processing company next door.

    Behaviors Observed

    Birds were flying together circling low over trees, mostly flapping wings because of lack of thermal activity. Seemed like they had picked up scent but were moving around trying to locate source. They remained in the area for approx. 20 minutes.

    Verbal Narrative & Description of Observation

    I'm a salesman at Almartin Volvo, and I first saw them flying low over pines behind Executive Drive while I was sitting in a new car with a customer. This area has turkey vultures during the typical length of their breeding season up here but I could tell immediately with naked eye that these were not turkey vultures and not crows or ravens.
    Once I was finished with my delivery I was able to go out to my car and get a better look with binoculars. I already knew these were black vultures from the size and shape, broad wings with very distinct finger tips, very short tail, and slight dihedral during the short glides. But the birds had to flap wings almost constantly since there was no thermal activity. I took the cell phone pictures while walking out to the car because I wasn't sure how long they'd stay in sight, as they were circling away to the north of the field.

    Relative Size & Shape

    large dark birds, bigger than crows or ravens, similar in size to turkey vultures which are common to this area, but broader wings and distinct finger tips. I didn't see the typical white patches but these birds were almost constantly flapping their wings to stay aloft, and the lighting was poor.


    small but indistinct at this range

    Feet & Bill

    unobserved at this range

    Upper Back


    Lower Back & Rump




    Breast, Belly, Flanks, Under Tail Coverts



    very short and wide, black

    IMPORTANT: What similar species were eliminated when making the identification and how was this bird different?

    Turkey Vulture, Crow, Raven

    This report was written from notes taken:During the Observation

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