Adult 2 - 4 lbs.; 25 - 32 inches
North and South America
Mainly deciduous forests and woodlands; often seen over adjacent farmlands
Wild - Carrion and other refuse; frequently feeds on nestlings and eggs; causes havoc among breeding colonies of sea birds
Zoo - Bird of prey diet
- Black plumage flecked with brown gives off glittering reflection
- Feet and upper part of neck and head are purplish-red
- Beak is whitish
- Resembles a domestic turkey in general appearance and especially when at rest
- Narrower wings than those of black vulture; silvery linings
- The turkey vulture's rear toe is fairly short and high positioned making it better adapted for ground movement
- Solitary by day
- While they sleep, their internal temperature may drop by about 4 - 5 degrees
- Graceful glider; hunts in the morning and early afternoon
- Finds food by sense of smell
- When seeking food, it flies low over the ground. It can detect olfactory stimuli which cannot be perceived at higher altitudes.
- Most commonly and most widely distributed New World vulture. Successfully settled in the most diverse habitats. Wanders south during the winter months to warmer regions of America.
Lays 2 dirty brown eggs. Chicks born with eyes open and alert. Fully grown in 3 months.
Not threatened; widespread; protected in U.S.