Dean M. Chriss
American Black Vulture, South Florida
(Click image to enlarge)
Early on a cloudy spring morning in Everglades National Park, this black vulture surveys the surroundings. These are large birds with a wingspan of about 54 inches. Black vultures are found in the warmer parts of the western hemisphere from roughly Washington DC to central Patagonia. Their main food is carrion, but they also kill some young or defenseless wild and domestic animals. While some may regard this bird as ugly, it is as necessary as any other for the health of the ecosystem in which it lives.