Turkey Vulture

About the Turkey Vulture

The Turkey Vulture is the most common vulture in the Americas. Despite the similarity in name and appearance, this species is unrelated to the Old World vultures of the family Accipitridae, which also includes eagles, hawks, kites and harriers.

This bird got its common name by the resemblance of the adult's bald red head (and possibly its dark plumage) to that of the male Wild Turkey.

While soaring, they hold their wings in a V-shape and often tip 'drunkenly' from side to side, frequently causing the gray flight feathers to appear silvery as they catch the light.

The Turkey Vulture is found in open and semi-open areas throughout the Americas from southern Canada to Cape Horn. It is a permanent resident in the southern United States but northern birds may migrate as far south as South America.

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Details & Statistics

Added to Birdorable
Hatched on 05 December 2007
Scientific Name
Cathartes aura
  • Ciconiiformes
  • Cathartidae
  • Cathartes
  • C. aura
Birdorable Family
Conservation Status
Least Concern (as of 21 March 2020)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Near Threatened (NT)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Critically Endangered (CR)
  • Extinct in the Wild (EW)
  • Extinct (EX)
Source: IUCN Red List
Units: Imperial / Metric
30 inches
72 inches


International Names

Brazilian (Português brasileiro) Urubu-de-cabeça-vermelha
Chinese (汉语) 红头美洲鹫
Czech (Cesky) Kondor Krocanovitý
Danish (Dansk) Kalkungrib
Dutch (Nederlands) Kalkoengier
Finnish (Suomi) Kalkkunakondori
French (Français) Urubu à Tête Rouge
German (Deutsch) Truthahngeier
Italian (Italiano) Avvoltoio Collorosso
Japanese (日本語) ヒメコンドル (Himekondoru)
Norwegian (Norsk) Kalkunkondor
Polish (Polski) Sępnik Różowogłowy
Russian (русский язык) Гриф-индейка
Spanish (Español) Aura Común
Swedish (Svenska) Kalkongam
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