• Sun. Sep 25th, 2022

Turkey Vulture King of the scavenger


Jul 27, 2022

The king of the scavenger The turkey vulture ( Cathartes aura) is among the most commonly seen large carnivore birds found in North as well as South America. They have the ability to smell, which can help them concentrate on (and eventually consume) the flesh that is decaying of animals. The word “vulture” comes directly from Latin word vellere meaning to plucked or tear.


Turkey Vultures are usually found in open areas, such as roads, rangeland, and fields However, they also roost in trees and on cliffs at night.  birds facts

They are present all year long all year round in South America, Central America, Mexico and parts of the southeast United States. In spring and summer (when they’re breeding) they can be located in the southern region of Canada and across the whole United States.

Turkey vultures which reproduce in both the U.S. and Canada fly into the north during winter and often fly through Panama on their way towards their destinations. Between 2010 and 2011, 548,700 turkey vultures were spotted at Panama City’s Cerro Ancon watch point in Panama City.

Physical Description

Turkey Vultures are big birds that have dark feathers and long wings. They sport lengthy “fingers” at the tips of their wings as well as long tails. They are dark brown and sport a the appearance of a red head with no feathers. When they fly turkey vultures maintain their wings affixed in a shape that appears like an “V” when seen from the front.

Interesting Biology

Turkey Vultures have a keen sense of smell, which allows them to locate dead animals. As compared to other species of bird species, turkey vultures have an enlargement of their brain that is responsible for processing smell. They are able to detect as little as a few parts of a trillion. They are able to find dead animals.

Turkey vultures also possess an amazing immune system, which lets them eat dead animals (and the associated bacteria) without becoming sick.

The bird’s slow, but flapping style of flight permits it to glide at low altitudes, where it can smell dead animals. However, they do also make use of thermals to fly up to a higher altitude. On their feet, they fly through jumping.

Turkey Vultures may create roosts that span between 10 and 100 birds during non-breeding times. Migration flocks can be up to 1000.

The birds don’t construct full nests. Instead, they scratch the soil or even leaves to construct their nest. It is interesting to note that they can utilize these areas over time (up to 10 years) to build nests. They usually construct nests in caves, hollow logs, ledges or even abandoned structures.

The size of the birds’ clutch usually consists of 3 eggs.  Are Birds Mammals? The eggs are incubated for 28 to 40 days before the nest can be laid lasts for 60-85 days.

Turkey Vultures are classified as being of Least Concern (LC) in the IUCN’s Red List threatened species.


Turkey Vultures are scavengers who consume carrion (the decaying flesh of dead animals). They mostly eat mammals, but they also consume reptiles, fish, amphibians as well as other birds. Turkey Vultures don’t attack live prey. When carcasses are found, many birds could be in the area, but typically only one bird will be feeding.

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