Although turkey vultures are much more common in Missouri, black vultures are expanding their range northward, and sightings of them are increasing. Note their black head, shorter tail, and (seen from below) a white patch near the ends of the wings.
Seen from below, black vultures in flight tend to hold their wings horizontally (not in a shallow V), with the wingtips stretching somewhat forward. The wings are mostly black, with a white patch near the outer end of the wing; the tail is short. They usually alternate between a series of three to four flaps and soaring.
Although turkey vultures are much more common in Missouri, black vultures are expanding their range northward, and sightings of them are increasing. Note their bumpy, black, featherless heads and short, stubby tails.
Like turkey vultures, black vultures feed on carrion. Black vultures commonly follow turkey vultures to find food, and groups of them often aggressively drive off the turkey vultures. Black vultures tend to stay in tight-knit family groups.
This “buzzard” is perhaps the most commonly seen soaring bird in our state. Identify it from below by its shallow V-angled wing posture and two-toned pattern, with the forward edge of the wings black and the trailing half gray or silvery.
MDC protects and manages Missouri's fish, forest, and wildlife resources. We also facilitate your participation in resource-management activities, and we provide opportunities for you to use, enjoy and learn about nature.