Turkey Vulture Fun Facts

turkey vulture facts for kids

Here you are going to read some of the most amazing turkey vulture facts for kids. The turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) is probably the most common vulture of New World vultures. It has earned many names such as John crow, Turkey buzzard, and carrion crow. The vulture primarily lives in the forests of Canada to South America. The turkey vulture has five subspecies.

Turkey Vulture Fun Facts

The turkey vulture gets its name due to its red bald head that resembles male wild turkey.

Adult turkey vultures have large wingspan measuring 160–183 cm. The vulture grows to an overall length of about 62–81 cm. The average weight of an adult vulture is 1.8 to 5.3 pounds.

Male and female are about the same in length and weight.

Turkey vultures typically display brownish black flight feathers but there are also silvery-grey feathers underneath the black ones.

They are typically recognized by their naked pink skin and feet together with gray-brown eyes.

The vulture’s feet are not only 9.5 and 14 cm long, they are 8.2 and 10.2 cm wide too and this includes claw marks.

Since turkey vulture is the most widespread North American bird, it has a range of about 28 million square kilometers. No other North American bird occupies that much range.

turkey vulture facts for kids The vulture makes habitats in open areas, semi-open areas, pastures, subtropical forests, shrublands, foothills, wetlands, grasslands, and deserts.

They have flat feet due to which they cannot grasp anything properly. The vulture’s talons are not particularly built for holding prey.

Turkey vultures are carnivores. They are scavengers too. The vulture’s diet consists of live insects, mammals, birds, amphibians, fish, and invertebrates. They have an acute sense of smell and vultures rely on them during hunting.

Adult vultures display a thin tail during flight.

Turkey vultures normally roost in large groups but they do forage alone. They are thought to roost in abandoned or dead trees that do not have leaves.

They will enter caves during the breeding season.

The overall population of a turkey vulture is estimated at 4,500,000 individuals.

The breeding season begins in March and it peaks in April and May.

When the breeding season arrives, the vulture builds nest in hollow trees, cliffs, burrows, thickets, and rock crevices.

Females usually lay 2 cream-colored eggs which are incubated (warm) by both parents. The eggs hatch in about 30 – 40 days.

Predators of turkey vultures are great-horned owls, bald eagles, golden eagles, and red-tailed hawks. The vulture’s eggs often fall prey to opossums and raccoons.

The average life expectancy of a turkey vulture is about 16 years in the wild. The captive specimen can live as long as 30 years.

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