Bookmarkable URL:http://hdl.handle.net/10217/53819

Scientific Classification

Kingdom:Animalia
Phylum:Chordata
Class:Aves
Order:Falconiformes
Family:Cathartidae
Genus:Cathartes
Genus species:Cathartes aura

Animal Characteristics

Head-Body Length:63.5 cm
Identification:The feathers on the body of the turkey vulture are dark brown. The head is red and unfeathered, the bill is yellow, and the legs are red.
Habitat:Scrub vegetation, semi-deserts, open landscapes
Diet:Carnivore: carrion
Reproduction:Nesting takes place during periods of warmer weather. A female lays one brood of two eggs per breeding season. The eggs are incubated for 38-41 days. Fledging occurs 66-88 days after the chicks hatch.
Flocks with up to several hundred members are not uncommon.
Behavior:At night groups of 30 or more birds roost together. Turkey vultures do not make a nest, but rather they lay their eggs in a cave or hollowed out log on the ground. Turkey vultures have broad as well as long wings adapted for slow soaring over wide areas in search of their favorite food, carrion.
Status:No special status
Interesting Facts:Turkey vultures have heads that are unfeathered, a trait which may haveevolved from their habit of probing their head into the greasy, decomposing entrails of carcasses. All vultures have weak feet, incapable of grasping prey. Turkey vultures have been trapped and destroyed by man in many parts of their range because they were mistakenly believed to carry anthrax and other diseases of livestock.

Other Information

Geographic:Central North America
Southern North America
South America
Date:1965-07 Subjects:hawk-like bird
raptor
Turkey vulture
Cathartes
New World vultures
Vultures
Ciconiiformes
Birds
Vertebrates
Chordata
Birds of prey
Predatory animals