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Turkey Vulture

Turkey Vulture
Photo Information
Copyright: Manyee Desandies (manyee) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2004
Categories: Birds
Camera: Canon Powershot S1-IS
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Animal portraits, Vultures [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2005-04-13 10:56
Viewed: 4138
Points: 8
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Turkey Vulture
Cathartes aura

Urubu à tête rouge, Vautour (French)
Zopilote Aura, Aura cabecirroja (Spanish)

Although it has an ugly, bare-skinned face, the Turkey Vulture is beautiful on the wing. Seldom does this graceful and talented bird flap its wings as it soars over large areas searching for carrion.


Large soaring bird.
Long wings and tail.
Body feathers entirely blackish-brown.
Red head mostly unfeathered.
Size: 64-81 cm (25-32 in)
Wingspan: 170-178 cm (67-70 in)
Weight: 2000 g (70.6 ounces)

Sex Differences
Sexes appear similar, but female slightly larger.

Usually silent. Makes hiss at carcasses, roosts, and nest.

Cool Facts

The Turkey Vulture uses its sense of smell to locate carrion. The part of its brain responsible for processing smells is particularly large, compared to other birds. Its heightened ability to detect odors allows it to find dead animals below a forest canopy.

The Turkey Vulture maintains stability and lift at low altitudes by holding its wings up in a slight dihedral (V-shape) and teetering from side to side while flying. It flies low to the ground to pick up the scent of dead animals.

Like its stork relatives, the Turkey Vulture often defecates on its own legs, using the evaporation of the water in the feces to cool itself down.

The Turkey Vulture usually forages alone, unlike its smaller, more social relative, the Black Vulture. Although one Turkey Vulture can dominate a single Black Vulture at a carcass, usually such a large number of Black Vultures appear that they can overwhelm a solitary Turkey Vulture and take most of the food.


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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Scott: Turkey Vulturesmanyee 1 05-07 20:53
To livios: Vulturesmanyee 1 05-19 01:52
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Critiques [Translate]

Good Vulture portrait Manyee. Plain and simple with enough details left in the plumage. Good work.

  • Great 
  • CTP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 644 W: 6 N: 946] (2726)
  • [2005-04-14 20:45]

Hi Manyee,
This is a very nice Turkey Vulture picture.i love the way he looks(sad or curious?) and the colors you you captured i attemped to take of this birds picture 5-06 times in Florida but my test nikon d-70's lenses did not work with me to zoom enough:)Well Done.CT

  • Great 
  • livios Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2150 W: 319 N: 4263] (16942)
  • [2005-05-18 23:42]
  • [+]

Manyee, I have already posted some black vultures here on TrekNature. I know it may sound strange and bizarre, but I like vultures.

Your capture is nice. Great pov and composition. Colors are great too. Excellent contrast.

  • Great 
  • Scott Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 225 W: 0 N: 356] (1752)
  • [2006-05-07 19:55]
  • [+]

Excellent, Where did you find him? I have tried to shoot these guys (camrea) a few times, didn't get much worth printing.

Finely detailed, I like the composition. So ugly in the face and so graceful in the air.

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