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Turkey Vulture

Cathartes aura


A large raptor, which in some ways resembles a turkey. It is seen as black from a distance, but closer inspection reveals brown in the feather outer tips. The head is red, no feathers, with a wrinkled neck…as pictured.


This vulture was spotted in the southern part of Everglades National Park in Florida. The area is swamp with grass reeds, spotted with trees. According to references I consulted, this is the most widespread vulture in the US. It can be found in a variety of habitats in all states in the continental US.


This scavenger is well known for its dietary habits. It is not known for attacking living prey. They are most easily found at carcasses along or on the road…as well as soaring with its wings spread, riding thermals in the sky. It has the ability to find carcasses not just by sight, but also by smell. They do not build nests, as is traditional with most birds. They will arrange scraps of vegetation or wood in crevices of cliffs, ledges, or scrape out an area in the soil or vegetation litter.

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Jim Nelson
Jim Nelson 3 years ago

Thanks, Armadeus!

armadeus.4 3 years ago

Congratulations Jim! Thank you for the information and for sharing :)

Jim Nelson
Jim Nelson 3 years ago

Thanks Fekix, Pradeep, Michael and Triggs...I am in good company with you guys!

Jim Nelson
Jim Nelson 3 years ago

Thanks Ashley, I much appreciate the recognition!

triggsturner 3 years ago

Congrats Jim. Great images and notes.

Michael Strydom
Michael Strydom 3 years ago

Great Shots and Congrats !!!

Pradeep Kumar
Pradeep Kumar 3 years ago

Congratulations Jim

Felix Fleck
Felix Fleck 3 years ago

Congrats, well deserved!

AshleyT 3 years ago

Congrats Jim, this awesome series of a Turkey Vulture has been selected as Spotting of the Week!



Felix Fleck
Felix Fleck 3 years ago

Amazing photos, Jim!

Jim Nelson
Jim Nelson 3 years ago

Ashley, thanks for the nomination.

AshleyT 3 years ago

Your spotting has been nominated for the Spotting of the Week. The winner will be chosen by the Project Noah Rangers based on a combination of factors including: uniqueness of the shot, status of the organism (for example, rare or endangered), quality of the information provided in the habitat and description sections. There is a subjective element, of course; the spotting with the highest number of Ranger votes is chosen. Congratulations on being nominated!

Jim Nelson
Jim Nelson 3 years ago my research on vultures, another observation was that these birds keep themselves clean, in spite of their diet. That is easier to accomplish with a featherless head.

Hema 3 years ago

Actually Pollila,these are very gentle creatures and their wingspan is wow!

Jim Nelson
Jim Nelson 3 years ago

Thanks, Tristan!

Tristan Pragnell
Tristan Pragnell 3 years ago

That first pic is awesome!

Jim Nelson
Spotted by
Jim Nelson

Florida, USA

Lat: 25.16, Long: -80.92

Spotted on Dec 7, 2015
Submitted on Sep 19, 2016

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