SREL Reprint #2789




Home ranges of sympatric Black and Turkey Vultures in South Carolina

Travis L. DeVault1, Bradley D. Reinhart2, I. Lehr Brisbin Jr.2, and Olin E. Rhodes Jr.1

1Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, 195 Marsteller Street, Purdue University,
West Lafayette, IN 47907
Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Drawer E, Aiken, SC 29802

Abstract: We examined home-range characteristics of seven Black Vultures (Coragyps atratus) and four Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura) at the Savannah River Site, South Carolina. Birds were captured at their primary roost and tracked via aerial telemetry from 11 February 2002 through 29 January 2003. Mean annual home-range sizes (95% fixed kernel) for Black and Turkey Vultures were 12399 ± 5199 ha [SE] and 34053 ± 8567 ha, respectively. Black vultures concentrated their movements around primary roost, whereas Turkey Vultures demonstrated less site fidelity. Home-range sizes and time spent soaring for both species were much greater than reported for vultures residing in an agricultural landscape. We suggest that food resources at the heavily forested Savannah River Site were fewer and less predictable than in agricultural landscapes, requiring larger home ranges and increased time spent foraging.

Keywords: aerial telemetry, Black Vulture, Cathartes aura, Coragyps atratus, home range, movement patterns, Turkey Vulture

SREL Reprint #2789

DeVault, T. L., B. D. Reinhart, I. L. Brisbin, Jr., and O. E. Rhodes, Jr. 2004. Home ranges of sympatric black and turkey vultures in South Carolina. The Condor 106:706-711.

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