Home Herons, Egrets, Ibises - CICONIIFORMES Cathartidae Turkey Vulture - Cathartes aura
Turkey Vulture PDF Print E-mail

Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
L 27" (69 cm) 69" (175 cm)

Song or calls:
Usually silent, but over coveted animal carcasses groups of vultures may hiss, flop or fight.

more images


photo by Phil Swanson

 

Description: Sexes similar. Adult uniformly dark brown with small, red, unfeathered head; white tipped bill. In flight, wings held in shallow V; pale gray primaries contrast with dark wing linings and body, giving wings two-toned appearance; tail narrow and fairly long, extending beyond feet. Immature similar to adult, but with dark head and bill.

Food: Feeds on carrion and locates by sight and smell.

turkey vulture

  • Habitat: Open plains, sandhills or areas offering visual foraging. Cliffs, crevices, abandoned buildings or other cavities are used for nesting sites.
  • Where in Nebraska: Common regular spring and fall migrant throughout the entire state and locally uncommon regular breeder statewide. Hypothetical in winter.
  • Field Notes: At night, groups of a few up to 100 roost together in trees and then leave in late morning when thermals develop.
  • Fun Facts: The Turkey Vulture will defecate on its own legs using the water in the feces help cool itself down.

     


(click image for larger view)

 

Our Sponsors


Nebraska Environmental  Trust Environmental  Protection Agency Nebraska Game and Parks Nebraska Bird Partnership

Wild Bird Habitat Store

 

Similar Species

Black Vulture

Swainson's Hawk

Bald Eagle

Golden Eagle