turkey vulture

Turkey Vulture

Cathartes aura

CLASS Aves | ORDER Falconiformes | FAMILY Cathartidae

RANGE North, Central, and South America

HABITAT Found in a variety of habitats, from deserts to savannas and grasslands, to tropical and temperate forests

DIET Mainly carrion (dead animals)

2 - 4 lbs

25 - 30 in

Up to 6 ft

2 eggs

IUCN Status
Least Concern
turkey vulture

While moving on the ground, a turkey vulture walks or hops clumsily with a sideways hitch. Unlike most birds, the turkey vulture has a very good sense of smell. This helps the bird to seek out hidden food and detect it from long distances away.

turkey vulture

When alarmed by a potential predator, it will often regurgitate its food. This startles the predator and lightens the turkey vulture so it can fly away!

Vulture excreta has a high uric acid content that acts as a sanitizer as they defecate on their own legs, killing any bacteria the birds pick up while consuming carrion.