Coragyps occidentalis Miller, 1909:306

Pleistocene black vulture, Occidental vulture, Western black vulture, Rancho La Brea black vulture



Taxonomy & Nomenclature

Synonym/s: Coragyps atratus occidentalis Miller, 1909:306; Catharista occidentalis Miller, 1909:306; Coragyps shastensis Miller, 1911:388


Conservation Status


Last record: Late Pleistocene



Central, North and South Americas


Biology & Ecology










Original scientific description:

Miller, Loye. (1909). Teratornis, a new avian genus from Rancho La Brea. University of California Publications, Bulletin of the Department of Geology 5: 305-317.


Other references:

Brasso, Rebecka L. and Emslie, Steven D. (2006). Two new Late Pleistocene avifaunas from New Mexico. Condor 108(3): 721-730.

Brodkorb, Pierce. (1964). Catalogue of fossil birds: Part 2 (Anseriformes through Galliformes): Bulletin of the Florida State Museum, Biological Sciences 8: 195-335.

Carpenter, Mary C. 2003. Late Pleistocene Aves, Chiroptera, Perissodactyla, and Artiodactyla from Rampart Cave, Grand Canyon, Arizona. MS Thesis, University of Northern Arizona, Flagstaff. 333 pp.

Casto, S. D. (2002). Extinct and extirpated birds of Texas. Bulletin of the Texas Ornithological Society 35: 17-24.

Croxen et al. 2007. Pleistocene geology and paleontology of the Colorado River Delta at Golfo de Santa Clara, Sonora, Mexico. Pp. 84-89, in Wild, scenic & rapid—a trip down the Colorado River trough (Robert E. Reynolds, ed.). The 2007 Desert Symposium field guide and abstracts from proceedings, California State University, Desert Studies Consortium, and LSA Associates, Inc.

Ericson, Per G. P. et al. (2022). A 14,000-year-old genome sheds light on the evolution and extinction of a Pleistocene vulture. Communications Biology 5: 857.

Fisher, H. L. (1944). The skulls of cathartid vultures: The Condor 46: 272-296.

Guthrie, D. A. 2009. An updated catalogue of the birds from the Carpinteria Asphalt, Pleistocene of California. Bulletin of the Southern California Academy of Sciences 108(2): 52-62.

Harris, Arthur H. (1987). Reconstruction of Mid Wisconsin Environments in Southern New Mexico. National Geographic Research 3(2): 142-151.

Harris, A. H. 1989. The New Mexican late Wisconsin—east versus west. National Geographic Research 5:205-217.

Harris, Arthur H. (1993). Quaternary vertebrates of New Mexico, pp. 179-197. In: Vertebrate Paleontology in New Mexico, New Mexico Museum of Natural History, Bulletin 2:i-vii, 1-338.

Harris, A. H. 2003. The Pleistocene vertebrate fauna from Pendejo Cave. Pp. 36-65, in Pendejo Cave (R. S. MacNeish and J. G. Libby, eds.), University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque, 526 pp.

Hertel, Fritz. (1995). Ecomorphological indicators of feeding behavior in recent and fossil raptors. The Auk 112(4): 890-903.

Howard, H. (1930). A census of the Pleistocene birds of Rancho La Brea from the collections of the Los Angeles Museum. Condor 32(2): 81-88, 3 text figs.

Howard, Hildegarde. (1962). Bird remains from a prehistoric cave deposit in Grant County, New Mexico. Condor 64(3): 241-242.

Howard, H. (1968). Limb measurements of the extinct vulture, Coragyps occidentalis; in Schroeder, A. H., ed., Collected Papers in Honor of Lyndon Lane Hargrave: Papers of the Archaeological Society of New Mexico 1: 115-127.

Howard, H. 1971. Quaternary avian remains from Dark Canyon Cave, New Mexico. Condor 73(2): 237-240.

Howard, H., and A. H. Miller. (1933). Bird remains from cave deposits in New Mexico. Condor 35: 15-18.

Jefferson, G. T. (1991). A catalogue of Late Quaternary vertebrates from California. Part one; nonmarine lower vertebrate and avian taxa. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County Technical Reports 5: 1-60.

Kottkamp, Scott et al. (2022). Pleistocene vertebrates from Carlsbad Caverns National Park, New Mexico. In: Morgan et al. (eds.). Late Cenozoic Vertebrate Paleontology: Tribute to Arthur H. Harris. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin 88: 267-290.

Logan, L. E. (1983). Paleoecological implications of the mammalian fauna of Lower Sloth Cave, Guadalupe Mountains, Texas. National Speleological Society, Bulletin 45: 3-11.

Long, Katherine L., Prothero, Donald R. and Syverson, Valerie J. P. (2016). Stasis in Rancho La Brea black vultures ([i]Coragyps occidentalis[/i]) over the last glacial-interglacial cycle. In: Sullivan, R. M. and Lucas, S. G. (eds.). Fossil Record 5. New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science Bulletin 74: 121-125.

Messing, Henry J. (1986). A Late Pleistocene-Holocene fauna from Chihuahua, Mexico. Southwestern Naturalist 31(3): 277-288. [Abstract]

Miller, Loye H. (1911). Avifauna of the Pleistocene cave deposits of California. University of California Publications, Bulletin of the Department of Geology 6(16): 385-400.

Miller, Loye H. (1941). The passing of Coragyps shastensis Miller. Condor 43(3): 140-141.

Miller, Loye H. (1957). Bird remains from an Oregon Indian midden. Condor 59:59-63.

Miranda, Melissa. (2023). Estimating historic ranges of extinct scavenging birds in North America during the Late Pleistocene: using co-occurrence data from the fossil record. MSc essay, Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences, University of Gothenburg.

Steadman, D. W., J. Arroyo-Cabrales, E. Johnson, and A. F. Guzman. 1994. New information on the late Pleistocene birds from San Josecito Cave, Nuevo León, Mexico. Condor 96: 577-589.

Steadman, D.W., and Martin, P.S. 1984. Extinction of birds in the late Pleistocene of North America, p. 466-477, in Martin, P.S., and Klein, R.G. (eds.), Quaternary Extinctions: University of Arizona Press, Tucson.

Stock, C., and J. M. Harris. 1992. Rancho la Brea: A record of Pleistocene life in California. Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County, Science Series no. 37, 7th ed.:i-xiv + 1-113.

Tyrberg, Tommy. (2008). The Late Pleistocene Continental Avian extinction – an evaluation of the fossil evidence. Oryctos 7: 249-269.

Wetmore, A. 1932. Additional records of birds from cavern deposits in New Mexico. Condor 34:141-142.


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