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Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vultures soar on their enormous wings high above wetlands, forest and prairie, turning in slow circles with other vultures. They feed on dead animals, often crowding around roadkill on the side of the highway.
CATHARTES AURA
• Length: 26 inches
• Wingspan: 67 inches
• Season: Year-round
More about Turkey Vultures.
Where they are, and when.

Turkey Vultures have a distinctive red head and silvery white feathers along the entire underside of their wings. Their cousin, the Black Vulture, is white only on the tips of its wings, has a smaller wingspan and a larger gray head. Both are big, black birds. Because of their size, both are often mistaken at first glance for an eagle or hawk.

Vultures locate carcasses by both sight and an exceptional sense of smell while they are flying. They stay aloft by riding rising warm air and updrafts. Turkey Vultures hold their wings in a slight “V” and tend to teeter from side to side as they circle. The feathers on the tips of their wings spread out like fingers. At night, they roost in trees and tall buildings.

They are permanent residents of the South and Gulf Coast and nest everywhere from bare ground to the hollow of a stump, the edge of a cliff, an outcropping of rocks or an abandoned building. They lay one to three dull, white eggs.

About Scott Clark

I’m a digital journalist who’s worked as a photographer, reporter, producer and editor. My interest in the natural history of my surroundings reaches back to my early days beachcombing on the Jersey coast, rowing my boat on a quiet lake in Missouri and, more recently, discovering the mountains and backwoods of Montana, where I was born.

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