No matter how the word "vulture" is used, whether referring to the bird, or in some literary sense, it does not conjure up a "beautiful" feeling. That is a shame, because vultures are actually quite beautiful. Here, for example, is a Black Vulture sitting on a saguaro cactus that has just bloomed. And, while he is looking below for something to eat, he looks kind of regal. Vultures actually play a very important role in nature. As carrion eaters they "dispose" of dead animals that would otherwise be breeding grounds for disease.
The Black Vulture's range is more restricted than it's cousin the Turkey Vulture. The Black Vulture can be found from the Southwestern US to Chile. But like the Turkey Vulture, they migrate south from Arizona for the winter. I took this photo along highway 86 between Sells and Why (Arizona). I like the detail in the photo, especially in the face.