Turkey Vulture Facts and Information

Cathartes aura

Introduction to Turkey Vulture

 The Turkey Vulture seldom gets a fair chance in society. The Vulture does play a vital role in the food chain but they are usually seen as a symbol of death. In many cultures seeing a Vulture was considered to be a terrible omen. They can range in size up to30 incheslong. They have a wing span though that is up to6 feetwide. They usually weigh about4.5 pounds.

Turkey Vulture Description

 The body of this Vulture is dark black other than the head. It is covered in thick feathers but the head is bald. It is believed this prevents various types of parasites from their food getting into their feathers. They are plump and they have a yellow beak that is very sharp. It allows them to get into tough types of food items. They have white and yellow under their wings that can be detected only when they are in flight.

Class Aves
Order Incertae sedis
Family Cathartidae
Genus Cathartes
Conservation status Least Concern

Turkey Vulture Distribution

 They have the largest habitat of any Vultures. They are found in the United States, Canada, Central America, and limited regions of South America. They tend to live in open areas that are around wetlands. They live around desert locations, the open plains, and in some areas around the tropical rainforests.

Turkey Vulture Behavior

Hissing and grunting are two sounds that may be heard from the Turkey Vulture. They often use these types of sounds to scare away other types of birds. There are many species of birds that will leave food so that this Vulture can access it. Even some land animals will give up the chance to feed as they don’t want any problems with the Vulture.

These sounds also help them to find mates. Males often use hissing to warn other males to get away from territory. They have excellent vision and they will spend numerous hours a day soaring and looking for food. They also have excellent smell and that helps them to identify what they are looking for.

Turkey Vulture Facts

Turkey Vulture – Cathartes aura

Turkey Vulture Feeding

 Vultures don’t kill to get food. Instead, they consume only carrion which is what is already dead. They may consume the remains that other animals left behind because it was too tough for them to eat. They can consume rotting meat too that other animals would become very ill from eating.

Sometimes the Turkey Vulture can smell the gasses of something that is about to die but hasn’t yet. They will circle around and wait for it to die. Then they will swoop down and consume it. They have huge appetites and they will take every opportunity to feed that they can.

Turkey Vulture Reproduction

The males often display their wings and they will make a variety of grunts to get a mature female interested in them. They often mate with the same partner for life so they have to be very selective. Once the pair have mated they will create a nest. Usually the male will pick the location and get the materials. The female will use those items to create the nest.

The location will be on the ground or in a cave. They lay from 1 to 3 eggs. Both parents will take turns staying with them while the other is out getting food. When the young emerge about 40 day later they will also bring back food for them to consume. The young can fly and care for themselves when they are about 3 months old.

Turkey Vulture Conservation

As of 1918 the Turkey Vulture has been protected in the USA. However, they aren’t really at risk of dropped numbers at this point in time.

Turkey Vulture Information

Turkey Vulture Facts and Information


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