Black Vulture – Vader


Vader was received at World Bird Sanctuary on 4/14/2011 from the Walden’s Puddle Wildlife Rehab and Education Center in Tennessee. He came to the facility as an imprint, or a bird that has associated humans as their caregivers. Imprinted birds do not do well in the wild because they lack the basic skills for survival. They usually starve because they beg humans for food instead of knowing to search for it on their own.

Once at World Bird Sanctuary, Vader was trained to become an educational ambassador for his species. Vader is currently used in our out of state Zoo Show programming.

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  • Vader’s first successful Zoo Show season was in 2013 at the Milwaukee County Zoo. He is trained to run around the stage for pieces of meat.
  • He has also done programs at Stone Zoo and Grant’s Farm.
  • His intro music for shows is “The Imperial March” from Star Wars, obviously!
  • Vader is also featured every year in our Vulture Awareness Day shows.
  • According to his keepers, Vader thinks stumps are scary, but loves newspaper balls as enrichment.


Scientific Name:

  • Coragyps atratus. Latin origin meaning “tearer clothed in black.”


  • South-eastern United States, Mexico, and the western tip of South America.


  • Breeding habitat in dense forested areas, while usually foraging in open areas and alongside roads.
  • Most abundant at low elevations.


  • Almost exclusively carrion, but will occasionally catch small fish.
  • Will also eat eggs and sometimes kill newborn livestock.
  • In human populated areas, can be seen hanging out at dumpsters and landfills to eat garbage.


  • Due to their poor sense of smell, compared to their Turkey Vulture cousins, Black Vultures are known to follow Turkey Vultures around so they can eat the carrion that they find.
  • Will ride the thermals high up in the air to conserve energy in flight.
  • Roost in large groups in the evening.
  • Have very strong social bonds with their families. They will aggressively defend territory and foraging grounds from members outside of the family group.


  • Black feathers with white wing tips under wings.
  • Grayish, wrinkly, bare head and feet.
  • Short tail that is rounded at the end.
  • Hooked bill.
  • In flight they appear very large and angle their wings slightly forward.
Adoption Level

Fan, Friend, Sponsor


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