Black Vultures (Coragyps atratus brasiliensis) 26 January 2011, Crooked Tree Village, Belize District, Belize.

I noticed the male Black Vulture stalking purposefully across the field behind our lodge towards another Black Vulture. I assumed the 2nd bird had food. In fact the first bird had something else in mind. Most of the action was behind shrubs, but I got this one photo that shows them more or less in the open.

Copulation in this species is rarely observed and I'm not sure if it has been previously photographed. BNA lists only 6 previous observations of copulation from two researchers who spent years studying this species in the United States.

Black Vultures mate for life. They are completely monogamous. DNA fingerprinting has shown no evidence of extra-pair copulations.

Black Vultures are common and conspicuous birds of open country throughout the American tropics. Three races are recognized. C. a. brasiliensis is the form from Middle America through eastern South America. It is smaller and has more obvious white markings on the underside of the primaries than the nominate race found in the United States and N. Mexico.

Digiscoped with Panasonic DMC-LZ5 | Nikon FieldScope III | 30XWA | hand-held (no adapter)
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