Turkey Vulture

(Cathartes aura)

Conservation Status
Turkey Vulture
Photo by Christa Rittberg
  IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

     
  NatureServe

N5B, N5N - Secure Breeding and Nonbreeding

SNRB - Unranked Breeding

     
  Minnesota

not listed

     
           
 
Description
 
 

The head is bare and red. The wings are all black.

 
     
 

Size

 
 

26 to 32in length

66 to 72 wingspan

 
     
 

Voice

 
 

Silent

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
  Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus) has a gray head and silvery tips on its wings. It is a rare visitor to Minnesota.  
     
 
Habitat
 
 

Flies over open country, shorelines, roads; rarely forests.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Migration

 
 

April to May and September to November

 
     
 

Nesting

 
 

 

 
     
 

Food

 
 

Carion

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Occurrence

 
 

Uncommon to common migrant and breeder

 
         
 

Maps

 
 

The Minnesota Ornithologists’ Union All Seasons Species Occurrence Map

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Class Aves (birds)  
 

Order

Accipitriformes (hawks, eagles, kites, and allies)  
 

Family

Cathartidae (American vultures and New World vultures)  
 

Genus

Cathartes (Turkey and Yellow-headed Vultures)  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

Chilean Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura jota)

Eastern Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura septentrionalis)

Tropical Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura ruficollis)

Western Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura aura)

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

 

 
       

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

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Dan W. Andree

 
 

Turkey Vulture's....

 
    Turkey Vulture   Turkey Vulture  
           
    Turkey Vulture      
 

Kirk Nelson

 
  I was about 20 feet away and watched this vulture for a couple minutes before it flew away. I have seen them flying along the river now and again, but this is the first time I’ve seen one on the ground here.   Turkey Vulture  
        Turkey Vulture  
           
 

Christa Rittberg

 
    Turkey Vulture   Turkey Vulture  
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
    Turkey Vulture   Turkey Vulture  
           
    Turkey Vulture      
           

 

Camera

 

     
 
Slideshows
 
  Turkey Vulture
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren
 
  Turkey Vulture  
  Turkey Vulture
Ed McVicker
 
  Turkey Vulture  
  Turkey Vulture
JMC Nature Photos
 
  Turkey Vulture  
  Turkey Vultures
Craig A. Mullenbach
 
  Turkey Vultures  

 

slideshow

       
 
Visitor Videos
 
       
 

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Kirk Nelson

 
  Turkey vulture near Ford Dam 2019 07 13
Published on Jul 14, 2019
 
   
 
About

I've seen them flying along the river, but this is the first time I've seen one on the ground here. I was about 20 feet away and watched it for a couple minutes before it flew away.

   
       
  Cannon River Wilderness Area_Turkey Vultures
Published on April 29, 2014
 
   
 
About

Turkey vultures soaring on the winds above the Cannon River Wilderness Area near Faribault, MN.

   
       
 
Other Videos
 
  Cool Critters: Turkey Vultures - KQED QUEST
KQED
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jun 24, 2009

QUEST visits the Lindsay Wildlife Museum and talks to an expert about Turkey Vultures.

 
  Black turkey vultures invade town
CNN
 
   
 
About

Published on Jan 3, 2012

Residents are sick of their new neighbors, hundreds of black turkey vultures who have invaded their neighborhood.

 
  Turkey vultures!
capecast
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Oct 28, 2009

On today's CapeCast: We salute the "Bird of Death," the turkey vulture and find out what they're up to on Cape Cod.

 
  Turkey Vulture
JCVdude
 
   
 
About

Uploaded on Jan 12, 2011

The Turkey Vulture's head, like its namesake, is bald and red.

25 to 32 inches long, with a wingspan around 6 feet.

Healthy adult Turkey Vultures weigh approximately 6 pounds.

Vultures are large, carrion-eating birds. For years, it was believed that all vultures were raptors, members of the order Falconiformes. In 1994, however, it was discovered that the vultures inhabiting the American continents share a common ancestor with storks and ibises. Now, American vultures, or New World vultures, are recognized as Ciconiiformes, in the family Cathartidae.

Music: Rise of the Titans by Butterfly Tea http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0/fr/

 
       

 

Camcorder

 
 
Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

Report a sighting of this bird.

 
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Simply email us at info@MinnesotaSeasons.com.
Be sure to include a location.
 
  Daniel Duggan
5/4/2021

Location: 120th St. W. Rosemount, MN

Eating a small dead animal on the side of the road. The bird took flight when my car approached and perched in nearby tree on the Lebanon Hills Park side of the road.

 
  Ken N.
9/9/2020

Location: Entrance to Northbound Hwy 52 at 80th st. Inver Grove Hts. Mn.

Feeding on small carcass roadside

 
  John
5/11/2020

Location: Victoria, Eastern Carver County, south shore Lake Minnetonka

nesting pair

 
  Dan W. Andree
9/30/2019

Location: rural Norman Co. MN

Turkey Vulture

 
  Kirk Nelson
8/17/2019

Location: Upper Landing Park, St. Paul

Saw a turkey vulture flying over the Mississippi River near downtown St Paul, then watched it swoop down and land on the riverbank, just out of view.  I’m guessing it was after a dead fish.  It flew off before I got closer to take a photo.

 
  Dan W. Andree
7/27/2019

Location: rural Norman Co. MN

Turkey Vulture

 
  Kirk Nelson
7/13/2019

Location: Just south of the Ford Dam in St. Paul

I was about 20 feet away and watched this vulture for a couple minutes before it flew away. I have seen them flying along the river now and again, but this is the first time I’ve seen one on the ground here.

Turkey Vulture

 
  Esther
6/17/2019

Location: Minnehaha Park

I saw about 8 flying, and wondered if young are going on familial test flights, or if there’s something yummy in the woods.

 
  Sandy Sedivy
9/19/2018

Location: west side of Otter Tail Lake on Co Hiway 145 in Otter Tail County

I stopped at the Corner Store and saw about 40-50 turkey vultures traveling toward me from the north. It was very windy, and many simply soared above me in no apparent hurry. I was able to video some of it on my mobile phone. 

 
  Friendleen
9/12/2018

Location: Osseo, Minnesota

I was outside at about 8:30 AM and something huge caught my eye circling slowly overhead, just above the tree tops. It was a turkey vulture! It flew slowly and gracefully, looking at the ground the entire time. I feared it was looking for my chipmunk, Chippie, but thankfully saw Chippie later in the day, safe and sound.

 
  Camille Sabie
8/17/2018

Location: Pipestone

Pipestone has a around a dozen birds that hang around the railroad tracks at the south side of town. We’ve seen them around here for at least the last ten years.

 
  Scott Cole
4/1/2018

Location: Mankato, West

Returned to roosting trees today at about 5:15 pm. Carney and Moreland!

 
  Tim Gibson
6/27/2017 (7 am)

Location: St. Cloud, MN 56301

Feeding on unidentified carrion along with several crows in small parking lot on corner of 8th Street and 18th Ave South

 
  ML 1201
4/26/2017

Location: Oakdale

One spotted very low in the afternoon in the swamp areas near Walton park.

 
  R A Marsh
4/8/2017

Location: Faribault MN

Eleven very large birds riding thermals this afternoon over Willow St. in Faribault near the river.

 
  Scott Cole
4/1/2017

Location: NW corner Carney Ave. and Moreland Street

This evening the vultures returned to their roosting tree. The first 8 roosted this evening. They began to land around 7:30 PM.

 
       
  4/2/2017

As of now, there are 34 vultures. They are split between two trees. 

 
  Gloria Broker
8/1/2016

Location: Duluth, MN

It landed on a birch tree in my yard and spread its wings. When it did, my dog barked and scared it away.

 
  Chet
6/26/2016

Location: Glendorado, MN

 
  Georgeanne Schulz
6/13/2016

Location: morristown mn

 
  Kathy
5/24/2016

Location: 7 miles north of Underwood

Pair sitting on our barn with wings spread.

 
  Bill
4/7/2016

Location: Rockford, Mn

Flock of about 20 vultures flying over the town at dusk.

 
  Mary Kae
4/1/2016

Location: Eagan

Seen in the city in a wooded area

 
  Scott Cole
9/27/2015

Location: West Mankato near intersection of Carney Ave. and Moreland Street

A large number (at least 40) nest in the trees near our home. Fly out in the morning and return between 5:30 and 6:30 pm. They are here Spring into Fall. The general pattern is to fly east in the morning and return evenings.

 
  Kirk Nelson
4/29/2014

Turkey vultures riding the wind, April 2014

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EaWmyS1wXrc&nohtml5=False

 
           
 
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Chippewa Prairie

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