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Cathartes aura

Additional details on Distribution:

Canada: Breeds from south-coastal and southern British Columbia, including Vancouver Island, central Alberta, central Saskatchewan, southern Manitoba, western and southern Ontario, and southwestern Quebec southward (AOU 1998). more....

United States: Breeds from the Canadian-U.S. border, northern Minnesota, northern Wisconsin, northern Michigan, New York, southern Vermont, southwestern and eastern New Hampshire, and southern Maine south through the remainder of continental United States, and winters from northern California, Arizona, Texas, the Ohio Valley, and and southern Canada south into Mexico, the Gulf Coast, and Florida (AOU 1998). As with the Black Vulture, the limits of the breeding and wintering ranges of this species have moved steadily northward since about the 1920s, probably a response to global climate change (Kiff 2000). more....

Puerto Rico: It has been claimed that this species was introduced to Puerto Rico from Cuba (Danforth 1935), but Santana et al.(1986) and Olson et al. (1990) argued against this theory, based partly on the existence of Late Pleistocene fossil remains of this species from several West Indian islands.

Cuba: Common and widespread year-round resident and local numbers are augmented by migrants (Raffale 1998).

Bahamas: Common, but local, resident in the northern Bahama Islands, and migratory individuals apparently augment local numbers (Raffaele et al. 1998). Common permanent resident on Grand Bahama, Abaco, and Andros; accidental to very rare visitor elsewhere in the Bahamas (Hallett 2006).

Mexico: Common to fairly common resident throughout the region, occurring (rarely) as high as 3,500 m (Howell and Webb 1995). An average of 146 occurred annually in fall migration at the Veracruz "River of Raptors" hawkwatch from 2002-06(www.hawkcount.org 2007). more....

Guatemala: Abundant resident (aura) in the lowlands and more numerous in the highlands away from human habitations than the Black Vulture, occurring from sea level to 4,000 m; the migrant race meridionalis also occurs in migration and winter (Land 1970). Breeding resident, occurring in all regions of the country and in all terrestrial habitats (Eisermann and Avendaño 2007).

Belize: Common to very common on mainland away from heavily forested areas; less common on Ambergris Caye and unrecorded from others (Jones 2003). Russell (1964) stated that this common species is more numerous than the Black Vulture only in the Mountain Pine Ridge and that these birds are seldom found in settlements.

El Salvador: Considered to be common in the foothills and mountains throughout the country by Dickey and van Rossem (1938), but comparatively rare on the coastal plain and in the vicinity of large towns. West (1988) found it to be common at El Imposible and observed both southward and northward migration over the forest. Its present breeding status is uncertain, but it probably nests (Komar and Dominguez (2001).

Honduras: More widespread, but less common than the Black Vulture. Occurs throughout the country, including the Bay Islands, in virtually all habitats from sea level to above 2,700 m (Monroe 1968). Anderson et al. (2004) regarded it as a common partial migrant in the Moskitia region.

Nicaragua: Common permanent resident in all open habitats throughout the country (T.R. Howell in Martínez-Sánchez and Will 2010). Richmond (1893) regarded it as common along the Rios Frio and Escondiro, but less numerous than the Black Vulture.

Costa Rica: Common resident throughout, although much less numerous above 2,000 m. Large migratory flocks appear from September-October and late January to mid-May, mostly over the Caribbean slope. Some northern birds winter (Stiles and Skutch 1989).

Panama: Common resident throught the country and abundant during migration; more common in northern winter months. More numerous in open country than in forested areas. Occurs on Coiba, Taboga, and Pearl Islands. Huge migratory flocks occur in October and November and from late February to early April (Ridgely and Gwynne 1989). The northern races aura and meridionalis are common migrants and winter residents, and ruficollis is the common breeding resident (Wetmore 1965).

Bolivia: Breeding resident

Colombia: Common and widespread in open country to 3,000 m (usually lower) with numbers augmented by northern migrants during the northern winter. The race jota is resident from the eastern Andes westward, and C.a. ruficollis is resident east of the Andes. Northern migrant birds are C.a. meridionalis (Hilty and Brown 1986). See Márquez et al. (2005) for a list of Colombian specimen localities.

Ecuador: Fairly common to common; widespread (jota)) in the lowlands of western Ecuador, ranging in smaller numbers into the foothills and western slope of the Andes. Much less numerous and more local, (ruficollis) occurs in the lowlands of eastern Ecuador and uncommon in the foothills and lower subtropical zone of the eastern Andes. The race falklandica is apparently resident on offshore islands, e.g., Isla de la Plata and Isla Santa Clara. There are no specific records of the migratory meridionalis, but it should be expected (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001). According to Fjeldså and Krabbe (1990), the North American race meridionalis reaches Ecuador in winter, where it occurs mainly in the lowlands.

Peru: Common throughout the lowlands, rare and local in the Andes, and accidental in the puna zone at 4,300 m (Clements and Shany 2001). Known only as a vagrant from Manu National Park, Depto. Madre de Dios (Robinson 1994). According to Fjeldså and Krabbe (1990), the North American race meridionalis reaches Ecuador in winter, where it occurs mainly in the lowlands, and they mentioned that the race falklandica wanders regularly to 3,500 m in Peru.

Chile: Resident (jota) throughout the country from Arica to Tierra del Fuego, including the foothills of the Andes up to over 2,000 m. Generally less numerous than the Black Vulture, but the commoner of the two in desert regions between the Rio Camarones and the northern border of Atacama (Johnson 1965).

Trinidad: Common resident (ruficollis), mainly in forested areas; rarely seen near towns. Large numbers migrate through the region late in the year (ffrench 1991).

Venezuela: Common resident (ruficollis) throughout the country to 3,000 m and transient and migrant from the north from mid-October to late February (Hilty 2003). Migrants are presumably meridionalis (= septentrionalis, if that race is not recognized), and aura may also reach Venezuela (Hilty op cit.). Vuilleumier and Ewert (1978) recorded several soaring birds at 2,800 m near timberline at Páramo de Quirorá, but they considered this species to be only a visitor to the páramo, possibly occurring only during migration.

Guyana: Common resident (Braun et al. 2000). Less abundant than the Black Vulture and rarely seen in parties exceeding six individuals (Young 1929).

French Guiana: Common in northern coastal areas, but absent from the forested interior, even in large, but isolated clearings (Thiollay 2007).

Suriname: Common resident (ruficollis) in open country (Haverschmidt and Mees 1994).

Brazil: Occurs throughout Brazil, both in open country and forests (Sick 1993). Common to abundant resident in most portions of Rio Grande do Sul, but less common that the Black Vulture in the north and northwest and more common than that species in the south and west; not been recorded on the Mostardas Peninsula (Belton 1984).

Paraguay: Breeding resident (Hayes 1995). Common breeding resident at lower elevations; uncommon in the humid forested Alto Paraná (del Castillo and Clay 2004).

Argentina: Fairly common resident at Reserva El Bagual, Formosa Province, recorded in every month of the year (Di Giacomo 2005).

Uruguay: Common resident (ruficollis) throughout the country. More numerous than the Black Vulture (Arballo and Cravino 1999).

Tierra del Fuego: Common summer breeding visitor, recorded from November to March along the southern and eastern coasts of the island; scarce in the northern part of the island (Humphrey et al. 1970).

Aruba: Listed as a vagrant by the South American Classification Committee.

Falkland Islands: Common and widespread resident (falklandicus) in most parts of the Falklands (Woods and Woods 1997), although it is absent from some smaller islands, e.g., Beauchêne, where the pugnacious Striated Caracara exists in large numbers (Woods 1988). Cawkell and Hamilton (1961) suggested that the larger and darker race, C.a. jota, may occasionally occur as a vagrant.

South Georgia: Individuals were seen in three of four years between 1991-1995 at South Georgia Island (Prince and Croxall 1996).

(Gibraltar): A bird seen flying north along the east side of Gibraltar on 20 January 2008 was presumed to have escaped from captivity (Garcia 2009).

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