Home Butterflies Turkey Vulture

Turkey Marauder

( Cathartes aura)

Turkey Vultures aren’t your normal backyard bird, but they serve an objective and as soon as you get to recognize these birds, with any luck you will have a greater gratitude for the work they do and the interesting behaviors Nature r has actually supplied them

« laquo Purifying marauder» raquo Cathartes, suggesting « laquo purifier, raquo originates from the Greek word kathartes. This is apparently a recommendation to the this marauder’s practice of consuming carrion as well as «thus laquo purifying raquo the countryside.

Much of the prejudice towards the marauder is attributable to its diet regimen (it preys on carrion). Its diet regimen is usually described by such terms as unclean, foul, and also malodorous. It is a scavenger, collecting where animal waste, scraps as well as garbage have been disposed of.

Various other birds like crows, gulls and also even our marvelous eagles feed on.

, why exists this prejudice towards the Turkey Marauder?

General Description:

The Turkey Marauder is mild and also non-aggressive.

The most commonly dispersed vulture the Americas, the Turkey Vulture is a huge, mainly blackish-brown bird. It is most commonly seen rising overhead. The grown-up vulture measures 25 to 32 inches in size, has a 5- to 6-foot wingspan, evaluates 5 to 6 pounds and soars with its wings slanted up, in a dihedral pattern. They shake backward and forward when skyrocketing.

The underwings are two-toned: silvery flight feathers with black wing-linings. The undertail is also light. Juveniles have gray heads while newly hatched birds have black heads.

When the birds are soaring, it is challenging to see the color of the head. The shaking, in addition to the dihedral pattern, identifies the Turkey Vulture in trip from other huge, rising birds. Perched, grown-up Marauders are distinct, with their featherless, red heads.

There is an essential objective to the vulture’s hairless head. When the marauder is consuming carrion, it has to often stick its head inside the carcass to get to the meat. A downy head would certainly record unwanted pieces of the vulture’s meal( much like food can embed males’s beards), together with all the microorganisms such pieces would hold. The hairless head, ultimately, is a matter of hygiene for marauders.

Turkey Vultures are among the few birds which have a common sense of smell. Even their cousins, the Vultures, do not have a feeling of smell.


Marauders can be seen soaring over a broad variety of environments. They are most often located over open nation, specifically within a couple of miles of rough or woody areas.

outcroppings, high cliffs, and dry woodlands give nesting sites, while open locations are prime foraging habitat.

Turkey Vulture photo 1


Interestingly, Turkey Vultures
often vomit when come close to or bothered by predators, or when handled by scientists. The birds do not « laquo projectile vomit,» raquo as many would assert. But they do indeed throw up when stressed, as well as this all-natural habits is a method for vultures making a pig of on a carcass to off-load some weight when predators come close to and the vulture has consumed way too much to fly.

( You can imagine exactly how vultures will wish to consume as much as possible, offered the unpredictable nature of their food resource, while still keeping trip abilities.)

Unlike a lot of birds, Turkey marauders have a strong sense of scent and also can smell a food source from a number of miles away. As they soar over foraging locations, they scan the ground, looking for carrion or scavengers that might signify the visibility of something dead. When they situate food, they eat it in place.

They generally forage alone, yet often gather together around food resources. They roost communally in tiny teams. the eastern US, several thousand birds might nest in the very same location.

The Turkey marauder typically guides its pee right onto its legs. This process, known as urohydrosis, serves two extremely vital functions. On warm days, moistening the legs cools down the marauder as the urine vaporizes. (The marauder can not sweat like us).

enhancement, this urine includes strong acids from the marauder’s digestion system, which may eliminate any type of bacteria that continue to be on the bird’s legs from actioning in its meal


Turkey Vultures are scavengers, eating virtually any kind of carrion they find.

( Remains of a Marsupial as I watched a marauder fly right into a tree pictured above.)

They prefer fresh carrion one as well four days old and also show up to focus on tiny food things, especially where their array overlaps with the leading marauder, a
types of the Southeast to Texas and Mexico.

This species has been taped eating a wide range of food, including wild as well as domestic carrion, stranded mussels, shrimp, insects, mayflies washed onto shore, rotten pumpkins, palm fruit, grapes, juniper berries, and feces of prairie wolf and also sea lion.

They can closed big carcasses as the connected bill is instead fragile and weak.

It seems they as well have a preference in preference and scent of their food. They favor their meat aged by 1 to 4 days. Longer in amazing temperature levels. comes to be to rancid (smell and taste), also for these birds.


It is not known when Turkey Vultures first kind pair bonds as well as breed, yet they do develop long-lasting bonds. Set development consists of a ritualized display with several birds in a circle on the ground, hopping up as well as down with wings partly spread.

Turkey Vulture photo 2

Nests lie in protected areas, such as hollow trees or logs, in high cliffs, caverns, thick thickets, old buildings, or any type of private location separated from humans.

They develop little or no nest and also lay 1 to 3 propel the ground or the bottom of the nest area. Both man and female aid incubate the eggs for regarding 38 to 41 days.

Both have brood patches. Nest websites might be in old deserted buildings as well as barns. Some nest website are on the ground or in ground dental caries.

Once hatched out, the nestlings are brooded almost continually for the first 5 days. The male and also women take transforms brooding the young, allowing one moms and dad to collect food that it then throws up for the young.

The young very first start to fly at regarding nine or 10 weeks. The fledging process is progressive as well as varies depending upon nest location. Birds fledging from reduced websites have the luxury of taking short method trips for a few days prior to taking extensive flights. The initial flight of young birds that hatch in exposed or raised nests will usually be expanded, given that brief hops are sometimes too dangerous for them.

As soon as the young begin to fly, they usually spend 1 to 3 even more weeks at the nest site, taking advantage of the food given by their parents.


Turkey Vultures fly with their wings in a dihedral (superficial V-shape), and can often by identified by this dihedral as well as by their particular « laquo shaky raquo rocking movement in trip. They are really graceful, many also claim beautiful, in flight, and can skyrocket for hours without flapping their wings.

Their waving, when it takes place, shows up tiresome as well as is usually used
on liftoffs and prior to landings.

contrast to common belief, circling vultures do not always suggest the presence of a dead animal. Circling around vultures may be acquiring altitude for long trips, looking for food, or playing. These birds skyrocket on thermals of cozy, climbing air. Soaring trip is far more energetically effective than powered, waving trip.

After rising on the thermal, they slide regarding feasible prior to they need to gain altitude again. They likewise rely upon thermals of warm air, as well as air currents that are dispersed upwards off hillsides, to remain aloft while checking the ground for food.

You will certainly see marauders airborne over a carcass, as well as they may remain airborne till they really feel the situation is risk-free sufficient for them to land as well as start feeding.

Migration Condition:

Marauders are considered partial travelers. Those birds that breed north of the wintering premises usually migrate. Their final location is uncertain.

Intriguing Realities:

The Turkey Vulture received its typical name from the resemblance of the grown-up’s bald red head and its dark plumage to that of the male Turkey,

Turkey Vulture photo 3

The Turkey Vulture is just one of one of the most experienced soarers among the American birds.

The Turkey Marauder’s frail expense has a sharp hook at the end for abusing its food, however can’t tear via thick skin of larger pets.

You can translucent the nasal flow in the beak of a turkey marauder.

Vultures are one of the really few birds to have an exceptional feeling of odor. They typically find gas pipeline leaks due to the fact that ethyl mercaptan —— the undesirable odor contributed to gas —— is also the odor of decomposing flesh (dinner to the marauder).

Vultures stand with 3 toes ahead and also one toe backwards. Their weak feet as well as short, bent talons are not able to confiscate prey. The primary function of their feet is running on the ground.

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