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Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
Birds Around Las Vegas, Wildlife Around Las Vegas
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)

General Description: Turkey Vultures (Cathartes aura) are large soaring birds with wing spans to about 6 feet. Adult Turkey Vultures are black overall except for the red naked head and the white feet. In flight, the trailing edge of the underwing is white (in California Condors, the leading edge is white). Juvenile vultures have a dark head and mottled wing linings. In flight, Turkey Vultures hold their wings with the tips slightly up (forming a V-shaped dihedral), which aids in stability at low flight speeds. They also typically fly with the "elbows" (actually the wrist) held somewhat forward.

Taxonomy: Accipitriformes, Cathartidae.

Favored Habitat: Open skies, cliffs, and places to find lots of dead cows.

Taxonomy: Accipitriformes, Cathartidae (vultures)

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)

Where to Find: These are birds of the open skies, so keep an eye out above as they can be found anywhere, even in town. There is a roost at Key Pitman Wildlife Area that sometimes has dozens of TVs.

Comments:

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) At close range, notice the red, naked (no feathers) head and white feet. The lack of feathers on the head is an adaptation to keeping one's head clean when sticking it into deep, nasty places (e.g., into the belly of dead, rotting cows). The white on the feet is dried uric acid (dried urine); vultures urinate on their feet to help cool themselves on hot days.
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
"Elbows" held forward in flight
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
"Elbows" held forward in flight
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
Wing tips held up in flight
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
Wing tips held up in flight
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
Wing tips held up in flight
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
Wing tips held up in flight
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)
Turkey Vulture in a Jamaican rain forest
more to come ...
Note: All distances, elevations, and other facts are approximate.
copyright; Last updated 120918

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