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Version 1.0

This is a historic version of this account.  Current version


Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture Cathartes burrovianus

Jack C. Eitniear
Version: 1.0 — Published September 19, 2014



Searches for food in continuous soaring flight, like other species of vultures, but Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture typically forages close to the ground, only very rarely soaring at any great height (Hilty and Brown 1986, Howell and Webb 1995, Hilty 2003, Schulenberg et al. 2010). The foraging behavior is described in more detail by Eitniear and McGehee (2015). Additional behaviors probably are similar to those of Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura); see Kirk and Mossman  (1998).


There are no published data on territorial defense, maintenance, or home range size for Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture. Presumed to be same as in Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) (see Kirk and Mossman 1998).

Sexual Behavior

Courtship and copulation of captive pair (R. Schabel and A. Rosintoski, personal communication) same as described for Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) in Kirk and Mossman (1998).

Social and interspecific behavior

In areas where food resources exist Lesser Yellow-headed Vultures are often the first to arrive at a carcass. After arriving they are often displaced by Turkey (Cathartes aura) and/or Black Vultures (Coragyps atratus) (Eitniear and McGehee 2015).


Feeding along roadways results in this vulture becoming roadkill itself (Eitniear and McGehee 1994). Ground nesting exposes eggs and young to various predators.

Recommended Citation

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