Turkey vulture
Scientific classification
Kingdom: animalia
Phylum: chordata
Class: aves
Order: falconiformes
Family: cathartidae
Genus: cathartes
Species: cathartes aura
The turkey vulture (cathartes aura) is a member of the Cathartidae family.


The turkey vulture is a large, dark bird with long, broad wings with "fingers" at the wingtip and a long tail that extend past their toes in flight. They are bigger than many other raptors, but smaller than eagles and condors. The turkey vulture has dark brown feathers, bald red head and pale bill. While most of its body and forewing are dark, the undersides of the flight feathers (along the trailing edge and wingtips) are paler, giving a two-toned appearance. [1]



As a part of pair formation, several birds gather in circle on ground, and perform ritualized hopping movements around perimeter of circle with wings partly spread. In the air, one bird may closely follow another, the two birds flapping and diving. Turkey vultures nest in sheltered areas, such as hollow trees or logs, crevices, cliffs, rocks cave, thickets or old buildings. Little or no nest built. 1-3 whitish eggs bloched with brown and lavender are laid. Incubation is by both parents and lasts for about 40 days. One parent remains with young much of time at first. Both parents feed young, by regurgitation. If young are approached in nest, they defend themselves by hissing and regurgitating. Youngs flege at the age of 9-10 weeks.


Unlike most birds, it has a well-developed sense of smell, which is used to locate carrions. The turkey vulture eats mainly dead animals, but sometimes it also eats decaying vegetable matter, live insects, or live fish in drying-up ponds. [2]


  1. Information from [1]
  2. Information from [2]

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