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1 June 2007 Diet of Black and Turkey Vultures in a Forested Landscape
Neil E. Kelly, Dale W. Sparks, Travis L. DeVault, Olin E. Rhodes
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Black (Coragyps atratus) and Turkey (Cathartes aura) vultures feed heavily on carrion from domestic animals in agricultural landscapes. A recent study indicates vultures at a forested site in South Carolina had much larger home ranges than those residing in agricultural landscapes. Vulture home ranges at the forested site contained few residential or agricultural lands, and we hypothesized that vultures at that site fed extensively on wild carrion. We collected 65 regurgitated pellets from a communal night roost between 16 October 2000 and 9 April 2002 to test this hypothesis. The pellets contained undigested parts of consumed carrion including hair, bone, scales, and claws. Wild mammals, particularly white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus), common raccoons (Procyon lotor), Virginia opossums (Didelphis virginiana), and striped skunks (Mephitis mephitis), were common food items. The only domestic animal recovered (in two pellets) was the house cat (Felis catus). This study supports the observations that carrion resources affect distributions and movement patterns of Black and Turkey vultures.

Neil E. Kelly, Dale W. Sparks, Travis L. DeVault, and Olin E. Rhodes "Diet of Black and Turkey Vultures in a Forested Landscape," The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 119(2), 267-270, (1 June 2007).
Received: 15 August 2005; Accepted: 1 July 2006; Published: 1 June 2007

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