Black Vulture

by Alexis
(Markham, Ontario, Canada)

Black Vulture

Black Vulture

A question was posed the other day "What is this raptor" and it was suggested it might be a Turkey Vulture. The other possibility is a Black Vulture.


Although Turkey Vultures are common in Ontario we are now seeing Black Vultures from the southern states on a fairly regular basis.

This is a photo I took of a Black Vulture two years ago in Markham.

I was sitting in my backyard with my camera and saw this large bird flying towards me overhead. What caught my eye was I could see it had something in it's talons. To my surprise it was a large orange Koi taken from some unsuspecting person's pond, no doubt.

Wow, I knew that Southern Ontario was the northern range of the Black Vulture but have never seen one or had anyone report seeing one.

Yes, you can see the fish in its talons!

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May 17, 2012
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Buffalobirder
by: Alexis

I'm feeling a bit better. Not that I posted a Osprey and called it a Black Vulture, but that Black Vultures have been sighted in Ontario.

Thunder Bay Field Naturalists in Thunder Bay, Ontario, recorded two sighting of Black Vultures. One in June 2010 and the other in Oct 2010.

Rare Birds Sighted


May 17, 2012
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Thanks Buffalobirder
by: Alexis

Thanks for your input. I appreciate the info. I wish there were Black Vulture in Ontario then I would feel less of an idiot, but not as much as I do posting an Osprey and calling it a Black Vulture.

Just wish this could be removed from Black Vulture on this site and put under Osprey.

Hey Alexis, you submitted a great picture and started conversations about the bird you sighted, lots of people have been educated, and I thank you for sending your picture!

May 09, 2012
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Osprey misidentified
by: Alexis

Thanks so much for all that info. Guess I need to move that photo to my Osprey file.

Apr 30, 2012
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Osprey
by: Alexis

Thanks for you input it's greatly appreciated.

I've been photographing birds for just a few years and although I have over 12 field guides I'm still stumped at times identifying some birds.

I'm familiar with the turkey vulture flying overhead, but my only photos of Osprey were nesting in Flordia, but none in flight.

Apr 26, 2012
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Osprey
by: Anonymous

This is actually an Osprey, based on the amount of white, the striping of the flight and tail feathers, and the fact that its prey is a fish. Vultures are scavengers, eating almost exclusively carrion, and if this is not available, a fish is one of the last things they would attempt to catch. There talons are poorly adapted to grasping, and actually quite weak, and while they may be able to carry something as small as this fish, they certainly wouldn't go fishing for it. Osprey are also known as Fish Eagles, and their main prey is in fact fish, and they have been known to catch koi from ponds quite often. Black Vultures are actually nearly identical to Turkey Vultures. The only visible differences, especially from below, are the skin of the bald head being black rather than a reddish-purple, and the underside of the wings having a pale patch as opposed to being completely dark. The bird shown here has the striping characteristic of the underside of an Opsrey, and you can also clearly see that the bird has feathers covering its entire head; if you look closely you can even see the dark eye stripe of the Osprey.

Apr 12, 2012
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Black Vulture in Ontario
by: buffalobirder

That's an Osprey, not a Black Vulture. There are no Black Vultures in Ontario...at least not yet anyways.

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