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Turkey vulture

Cathartes aura


The Turkey Vulture is a bird found throughout most of the Americas. It is also known in some North American regions as the Turkey Buzzard . One of three species in the genus Cathartes, in the family Cathartidae, the Turkey Vulture is the most widespread of the New World vultures, ranging from southern Canada to the southernmost tip of South America. The Turkey Vulture is a scavenger and feeds almost exclusively on carrion. It finds its food using its keen eyes and super-sense of smell, flying low enough to detect the gasses produced by the beginnings of the process of decay in dead animals. In flight, it uses thermals to move through the air, flapping its wings infrequently. It roosts in large community groups. Lacking a syrinx—the vocal organ of birds—its only vocalizations are grunts or low hisses. It nests in caves, hollow trees, or thickets. Each year it generally raises two chicks, which it feeds by regurgitation. It has very few natural predators. In the United States of America, the vulture receives legal protection under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918.




We spotted three vultures sunning themselves on the top of an industrial building. Two took off before we could get out cameras out, but the third "posed" for us for about 10 minutes giving us the opportunity to really appreciate it's immense wingspan.

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AliceGreenup 11 years ago

Hmm i know the feeling all too well. Guess patience pays off though and a bit of luck!

KarenL 11 years ago

Yes Alice, I was extremely lucky! I wish more of the local birdlife was as cooperative as usually everything disappears the moment I grab my camera!

AliceGreenup 11 years ago

Great set of photos. Lucky to get him in such a majestic pose!

KarenL 11 years ago

Exactly what I thought when I saw him Sachin! :)

Sachin Zaveri
Sachin Zaveri 11 years ago


Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 11 years ago

Of course! Silly me. It's cold there at the moment. Hard to remember when we are sweltering. Our birds are doing similar to cool down!

KarenL 11 years ago

Thanks Argybee!
I've seen them sunning themselves a few times - but they usually take off before I can get the shot! Luckily his guy was a real poser! :)

Mark Ridgway
Mark Ridgway 11 years ago

Olllld.. turrrrrkey buzzarrrrrrd.....
I love the way he's showing of his wings.
Do they do that often or is it just a hot day?
Excellent set of pics KarenL. Thanks.

KarenL 11 years ago

Thank you Mary! Yes beautiful in the air - on the ground not so much! :)

MaryEvans2 11 years ago

Wonderful captures, and great information. I love watching them as they seem to float overhead in the air currents.

KarenL 11 years ago

Thanks Emma!

Hema  Shah
Hema Shah 11 years ago

stunning pictures of a stunning bird.!!

Spotted by

Tennessee, USA

Spotted on Jan 25, 2012
Submitted on Jan 25, 2012

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