SCIENTIFIC NAME: Cathartes aura
OTHER NAMES: Buzzard, John Crow, Carrion Crow.
STATUS: Breeder. Common in all seasons and regions. Lowest Conservation Concern.
DESCRIPTION: Turkey vultures are large birds with brownish-black feathers. When on the ground, they resemble a wild turkey from a distance, hence the name turkey vulture. Adults have a red featherless head and light red legs and feet. Juvenile turkey vultures usually have a black head and may be confused with black vultures from a distance. Turkey vultures have a long, light red beak with a tan tip. Healthy adults may be 25 to 32 inches long with up to six foot wingspans and weigh up to six pounds. In flight, the leading edge of the underside of the wing appears dark brown or black with the rest of the wing appearing gray or white. On the ground, turkey vultures can often be seen standing with wings spread. This pose helps to warm the body, dry off the wings, and “bake” off any bacteria that may remain on the head or feathers.