Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture (Cathartes burrovianus)

Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture

[order] FALCONIFORMES | [family] Cathartidae | [latin] Cathartes burrovianus | [authority] Cassin, 1845 | [UK] Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture | [FR] Urubu a tete jaune | [DE] Kleiner Gelbkopfgeier | [ES] Aura Sabanera | [NL] Kleine Geelkopgier

Subspecies

Genus Species subspecies Region Range
Cathartes burrovianus LA e Mexico to n Argentina

Genus

The genus Cathartes includes medium-sized to large carrion-feeding birds in the New World vulture (Cathartidae) family. The three species currently classified in this genus occur widely in the Americas.

Physical charateristics

The Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture is mostly black with a green gloss. The outer primary flight feathers are ivory-coloured. The bright colours of the head vary geographically, and there is also some individual variation. In general, the neck is pale orange, the top of the head is blue-grey, and the remainder of the head is various shades of yellow, sometimes with red or greenish blue areas. The eyes are crimson, and the bill and cere reddish white. The legs are white or buff.


wingspan min.: 155 cm wingspan max.: 165 cm
size min.: 58 cm size max.: 66 cm
incubation min.: 37 days incubation max.: 43 days
fledging min.: 70 days fledging max.: 80 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 2  

Range

Latin America : East Mexico to North Argentina. The Yellow-headed Vulture can be found in savannahs near the east coast of Mexico and in Panama. It is also quite widespread in South America in lowlands as far south as northern Argentina.

Habitat

Open savanna and water courses, open flat grasslands to the edge of forest but generally not over forest.

Reproduction

There is very little information about the nesting behaviour of this vulture.
The Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture nests in large tree cavities, in fallen logs or stumps. It does not build any nest, and the eggs are laid directly on the floor of the cavity.

Female lays 1-2 whitish eggs with brown markings. Incubation lasts about 40 days. The chicks are covered in thick down and are able to keep themselves warm at nest. They are fed by both parents by regurgitation during the whole nesting period. The young fledge at 2-3 months of age, or more.

Feeding habits

Will feed on dead animals of any size but specializes on smaller carcasses found by relying on olfaction.

Video Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NSV0VayoGJI

copyright: J. del Hoyo


Conservation

This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
The Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture can be found in savannahs near the east coast of Mexico and in Panama. It is also quite widespread in South America in lowlands as far south as northern Argentina. This is a bird of grass lands, savannahs and broken patches of forest.
Some of the birds from central America migrate to South America during the dry season
Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture status Least Concern

Migration

No documentation available on migration or dispersal behavior. There is however varaition in seasonal abundance in Central America.

Distribution map

Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture distribution range map

Literature

Title Observations on Migratory Turkey Vultures and Lesser Yellow-headed Vultures in Northern Colombia
Author(s): FRIEDEMANN KOESTER
Abstract: Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura) breed from southe..[more]..
Source: The Auk 99: 372-375

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