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Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture - BirdForum Opus

Revision as of 01:19, 24 August 2021 by Njlarsen (talk | contribs) (taxon, refs)
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Subspecies C. b. urubitinga
Photo © by Bjorn Svensson
Pantanal, Mato Grooso, Brazil, 21 October 2004
Cathartes burrovianus


Black with a green gloss, the neck is pale orange, the top of the head is blue-grey, and the remainder of the head is various shades of yellow, with red or greenish blue areas; forecrown is red to blue. Crimson eyes, and the bill and cere reddish white. The legs are white or buff. On the standing bird, wings extend well beyond the end of the tail.

Similar species

For discussion on separating this species from Greater Yellow-headed Vulture see reference[2]. Turkey Vulture has red, not orange or yellow skin. Turkey Vulture also lacks white primary shafts.


Subspecies C. b. urubitinga
Photo © by Stanley Jones
South Wild, south of Poconê, Mato Grosso, Brazil, 7 August 2015

Mexico; locally through Central America to Panama; in South America from Colombia, Venezuela, Trinidad, and the Guianas, through Brazil to Uruguay and northern Argentina.



Two subspecies are recognized[1]:


Grasslands and marshes, woodlands and along rivers.



Diet includes fish, reptiles and grubs.


No nest. Eggs usually laid on the ground in dense grass or hollow of tree. Clutch is 2 creamy-white eggs splotched with brown, gray, and rufous.


Usually silent. Like other Cathartes it lanks a functioning syrinx. Sometimes gives a low, quiet hiss.


Irruptive or local migrant.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. BirdForum Thread discussing id of the Yellow-headed vultures
  3. Eitniear, J. C. (2014). Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture (Cathartes burrovianus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.lyhvul1.01
  4. Global Raptor Information Network. 2019. Species account: Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture Cathartes burrovianus. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 30 Jul. 2019
  5. Houston, D., Kirwan, G.M., Boesman, P. & Marks, J.S. (2019). Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture (Cathartes burrovianus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/52941 on 31 July 2019).
  6. Schulenberg, T. S. & Stotz, D. F. & Lane, D. F. & O'Neill, J. P. & Parker III, T. A. & Egg, A. B. (2010). Birds of Peru: Revised and Updated Edition. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0691130231

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