L 27" W 70"

FIELD IDENTIFICATION: The adult is a large, blackish bird with  paler flight feathers that can be seen from below.  The featherless reddish colored head has an ivory colored beak.  The legs are pinkish colored.  The dark head and beak of an immature can often be mistaken for a Black Vulture.  The nestlings are fluffy white. It is slightly smaller than a Golden or Bald Eagle.  It does not make any calls unless you count the groans and hisses that it makes when disturbed.   The Turkey Vulture's range includes most all of the lower 48 states.

The Turkey Vulture can often be seen flying high in the sky, soaring in circles with a wing span of 6 feet. It is so adapted to soaring that it rarely flaps while riding the thermals.  The Turkey Vulture has a strong dihedral and rocking, tilting flight.  See the Black Vulture for tips on differentiating the two vultures.

by Claire and Mary Curry


Notice the strong dihedral of the Turkey Vulture and sometimes you can see the red head of the adult Turkey Vulture.



When looking for field marks of the Turkey Vulture, take note of the long tail and almost no head profile compared to a hawk's head flight profile.

The above 5 photos taken by Mary Curry in August 2000 in Greenwood, Texas