The American Black Vulture, a bird of prey native to the Americas, is often overshadowed and misidentified. Yet, its significance in the delicate balance of nature cannot be overstated. I had a chance encounter with one at the Sequoyah National Wildlife Refuge in Oklahoma.

American Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)

American Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)

Armed with my Canon EOS R7 camera and RF 800mm F11 IS STM lens, I drove upon a group of vultures feasting on carrion by the side of the road. Upon closer inspection, I discovered that one of the vultures was an American Black Vulture, with its impressive five-foot wingspan, all-black plumage, and wrinkled bare head.

I swiftly set up my camera, opting for manual exposure with a fixed aperture of f11, a shutter speed of 1/1250, and an ISO of 2500 (Auto). The 800mm (fixed) focal length was the cherry on top, allowing me to capture the perplexing intricacies of the American Black Vulture with absolute precision.

These birds play an indispensable role in removing dead animals and sustaining the ecosystem, often found near urban areas or roadsides. They are more than just scavengers, they are essential to maintaining nature’s balance.

Don’t let their reputation as carrion feeders fool you, the American Black Vulture is a marvel of nature that deserves to be celebrated. The next time you encounter one, take a moment to admire its beauty and appreciate its vital role. It’s a moment you won’t soon forget.

I’ve included a few additional photos for your viewing pleasure – American Black Vulture Close-up and The Feet Of An American Black Vulture