Project Description

Turkey Vulture

Cathartes aura

Animal Class: Birds

Length: 24-32 inches

Weight: 1.8-5.3 pounds

Lifespan: An average of 16 years in the wild, or as long as 30 years in human care.

Diet: Fresh carrion meat

Habitat: Across the Americas from the tip of South America north to Canada

Description: Turkey vultures often have a bad reputation with humans, usually based on misinformation. 

Unlike other birds, turkey vultures seek food by smell and prefer fresh carrion to old meat. Removing dead material from the environment is important for keeping an ecosystem clean and disease-free.

Vultures are uniquely adapted for eating carrion. Their bald head keeps dead material from sticking to feathers and lessens the likelihood of bacteria. They have powerful beaks that can tear through hide.

Conservation Status: Least Concern

Our Animals: Dirty Harriet