Turkey Vulture

CATHARTES AURA

Turkey Vultures eat carrion, or dead animals, which they find largely by their excellent sense of smell. Mostly they eat mammals but are not above snacking on reptiles, other birds, amphibians, fish, and even invertebrates.

Their V-shaped, teetering flight style helps them to soar at low altitudes to search for food. At other times they may soar high on thermals and form mixed flocks or kettles.

Often, especially in the morning, they can be seen standing erect, wings spread in the sun, presumably to warm up, cool off, or dry off. During the winter months, they will migrate south to warmer climates.

Our Current Residents

Lurch

Lurch came to the Zoo in 1997 after he was found as a fledgling and imprinted on humans. He is an ambassador, traveling to many areas of the state for education programs.

Gomez

Gomez was found in 2017 on the side of a road with a wing injury, presumably hit by a car. The injury did not heal properly, deeming him unreleasable.

Taxonomy

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Cathartiformes
  • Family: Cathartidae
  • Genus: Cathartes
  • Species: Cathartes aura

Animal Facts

  • Carnivore
  • Common
  • Forest
  • Diurnal


Our Animals