Range/Geographical Distribution: Breeds from British Columbia, the Great Lakes, and New Hampshire southward. It winters in the southwest and southeast northward to southern New England.
Habitat: Forests and woodlands, in open areas, and along roadsides and railroads.
Similar Species: Black vulture.
Description: A large black bird with a pink/red head and legs. Underside of wings is a silver grey. When soaring, it holds its wings in a shallow “V” shape and rarely flaps them.
Size: Length: 25-32” Wingspan: 67-70” Weight: 2000g
Food: Feeds on carrion, mainly mammals but will also eat dead reptiles, invertebrates, fish, and other birds.
Breeding: Lays two white eggs marked with dark brown in a crevice in rocks, in a hollow tree, or in a hollow log.
Predators: Very few predators.
Conservation Status: Listed as least concern by IUCN. Their numbers were once threatened due to DDT poisoning but turkey vultures are now one of the most common carnivorous birds in North America.
Interesting Facts: The turkey vulture uses its strong sense of smell to locate carrion. The part of the brain responsible for processing smells is particularly large in turkey vultures when compared to other birds.
On the Coast: Turkey vultures are prevalent along Georgia’s coast. Often times they can be seen along highways cleaning up carrion and they also rest in broods in trees.