Cathartes auraSammy


  • Cathartidae

Common Name

  • Turkey Vulture


  • Oldest known specimen: 20.8 years
  • Average Wild Lifespan: 10-17 years


  • Length: 25-32 inches
  • Wingspan: 67-72 inches
  • Weight: 2-4.5 pounds


  • Ranging from the Southern border of Canada all the way to the Southern-most tip of South America.


  • Open and forested areas.
  • Turkey Vultures are well adapted to living in any environment with a supply of carrion.


  • Fresh carrion of small animals is preferred, but they will also eat larger animals that have decayed longer, rotten fruits and vegetables, and domestic animal dung


  • Yearly breeding season between March and June in North America
  • 1-3 eggs per season
  • 30-40 days incubation for an egg to hatch
  • 70-80 days before young are fledgling
  • 80-90 days to independent offspring

Interesting Facts

  • Turkey Vultures are one of very few birds that rely on their sense of smell to locate food.
  • Because of their keen sense of smell, Black Vultures, another species of vulture, will follow Turkey Vultures around to steal food from them.
  • Based on their wing surface to weight ratio Turkery Vultures have light wing loading. This makes them more buoyant in air meaning they can use thermals more effectively while using less energy to stay adrift in air longer than other birds.

Conservation Status

  • CITES – Not Listed
  • IUCN –Least Concern


  1. AnAge: The Animal Aging and Longevity Database. Accessed September 2016.
  2. Animal Diversity Web. Turkey Vultures. Accessed September 2016
  3. Appendices I, II, and III of CITES. (February 5, 2015) Accessed September 2016.
  4. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. (2015) Accessed September 2016.

**All animal information is meant to be an educational resource. It may not include all the latest scientific information. Though we edit our information we cannot guarantee the accuracy of all facts presented.