Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura

Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura Large and mainly black, with a naked red head, the Turkey Vulture has more appeal in flight than it does when perched ominously in a tree. When it flies, this bird holds its wings in a shallow V; it does not flap its wings often, but tilts and glides, taking advantage of rising currents of warm air to gain altitude.

Identification 26-32". Large and blackish, with small, unfeathered red head and stout bill with sharply hooked tip. Legs and feet orange. Silvery-gray wing linings conspicuous in flight, making wings appear two-toned. Immature has dark head and gray feet.

Voice Generally silent; utters hisses and groans at nest or when disturbed.

Habitat Dry, open country; often along roadsides; sometimes roosts in woods.

Range Breeds from S. British Columbia to S. New England, south to Mexico. Winters from New Jersey to Florida and E. Texas; also in parts of the Southwest.

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