(Cathartes aura)

“Gonzo”
Distribution: Turkey Vultures are found throughout Central and South America, the United States, and parts of southern Canada.
Distribution: Turkey Vultures are found throughout Central and South America, the United States, and parts of southern Canada.

Size: Turkey Vultures have a 5-6 foot wingspan, weigh 3 1/2 – 5 pounds, and are 25-38 inches long.

Diet: These vultures eat almost entirely carrion.

Lifespan: Turkey Vultures can live for more than 17 years in the wild, 20 years in captivity.

Reproduction: Turkey Vultures nest in caves, under bushes, or in hollow tress or logs. They lay 2 eggs which are incubated for 38-41 days. Young vultures fledge at 10-11 weeks of age but often stay as part of a family group until the next breeding season.

Did You Know?

  • Turkey Vultures feed their young regurgitated food (unlike most other birds of prey who feed their chicks fresh pieces of meat). Also, the young will vomit rotting carrion as a method of defense against intruders at the nest.
  • The naked heads of Turkey and Black Vultures prevent the matting of rotting flesh that would otherwise occur if these birds fed on carrion with fully feathered heads.
  • Turkey Vultures, in flight, hold their wings up in a “V”. Black Vultures hold their wings flat in flight.
  • These vultures are one of the few birds of prey who rely on their sense of smell, as well as sight, to find food.