Raptor Population Index

Trend Graphs | Trend Maps | Methodology | Participating Sites | Species Assessments |


Raptors at Risk Raptors on the Rise Others

Species Assessment:
Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)

Download as PDF

The 10-year migration count trends for Black Vultures suggest mostly stable populations across North America with 77% of 31 total sites showing stable counts (no statistically supported increase or decrease) during this span. Populations are mostly stable regionally with both increasing and stable counts observed in the Gulf Region and mostly stable counts in the East Region (see pie charts and trend maps below). Twenty-year count trends (not shown) also reflect a mostly stable population (East Region: 7 stable, 4 increase, 2 decrease; Gulf Region: 1 increase, 2 stable). Fort Smallwood, Maryland, counts one of the highest numbers of black vultures in the spring with an average of 492, and showed stable counts for the recent decade. Increases have been observed in Northeastern states as this species expands its range northward.

Winter survey data from the Christmas Bird Count (CBC) show increasing 10-year trends continent- wide with the annual percent change in population reported to be an increase of more than 6%. Increasing non-migrant populations are contributing to increases in wintering numbers. The Black Vulture is a species of least concern throughout its range, and as obligate scavengers, they perform valuable ecosystem services for humans through carcass disposal and disease prevention. Black Vultures are vulnerable to habitat destruction, human disturbance, harassment, and indirect poisoning from lead and other toxins, which have been shown to impact vulture species all over the world.

Black Vulture<br>

Please cite this page as:
    D. Oleyar, D. Ethier, L. Goodrich, D. Brandes, R. Smith, J. Brown, and J. Sodergren. 2021. The Raptor Population Index: 2019 Analyses and Assessments.