Cathartes Aura – Turkey Vulture

Cathartes Aura - Turkey Vulture

The turkey vulture, Cathartes aura in Latin, commonly known as the turkey buzzard (or simply buzzard) in North America, and the John crow or carrion crow in the Caribbean, is the most common New World vulture. The turkey vulture is one of three species in the genus Cathartes in the family Cathartidae. It lives in subtropical woods, shrublands, pastures, and deserts. The turkey vulture is a scavenger that eats carrion.

Quick Overview: Cathartes Aura – Turkey Vulture
Body size: Around 26-32 in (66-81 cm) and a weight of 1451 g (51.2 oz)
Main colors: Brown, Black, Pink, Red, Gray
Range: Throughout the United States
Migratory Bird: Yes
Best time of the year to see in the U.S.: June, July, August, September
Conservation Status: Least Concern

Turkey vulture Description

The weight of turkey vultures varies and their length is from 66 to 81 cm. The sexes are the same, with brownish-black plumage and a bare throat. A pink to bright red skin tone on the head and neck. Commonly confused with black vultures. Their gray main and secondary feathers and black head and neck set them apart.

Cathartes Aura - Turkey Vulture
Cathartes Aura – Turkey Vulture. Photo by: Judy Gallagher

Size

These birds have a length of 26-32 in (66-81 cm) and a weight of 1451 g (51.2 oz). Their wings could range from 68-72 in (173-183 cm).

Feeding

Diets of turkey vultures vary by environment. Agricultural vultures eat largely dead domestic animals, especially cattle. They rely on roadkill for human growth. In non-agricultural parts of South Carolina, natural carrion is their main food source.

Habitat

Turkey vultures live in many environments. They inhabit both wooded and open areas. Turkey vultures may be found almost everywhere there is carrion. They quickly adapt to people and development.

Behavior

Turkey vultures generally rest in huge flocks but hunt for food alone throughout the day. Hundreds of vultures, including black vultures, have been seen roosting together. Colder populations move seasonally to warmer climates.

Cathartes aura Scientific Classification

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Subphylum: Chelicerata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Accipitriformes
  • Family: Cathartidae
  • Genus: Cathartes
  • Species: Cathartes aura

Subspecies

If there are any, othwise, delete this section

Other common names

Known also as the turkey buzzard or simply buzzard.

Best time of the year to see

The best time to see these birds in the United States is during the summer season (June – September).

Distribution of the Barred owl in the USA

Breeds in southern British Columbia, middle Saskatchewan, the Great Lakes, and Maine, and then move southerly from there. Winters in the southwestern and eastern United States, respectively.

The XXX bird can be found in the following states in the United States – Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

Cathartes Aura – Turkey Vulture

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