Turkey Vulture

(Cathartes aura)

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List

LC - Least Concern

Turkey Vulture


N5B, N5N - Secure Breeding and Nonbreeding

SNRB - Unranked Breeding


not listed


Uncommon to common migrant and breeder


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


26 to 32in length

66 to 72 wingspan

Photo by Christa Rittberg

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




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






April to May and September to November





Falconiformes/Cathartiformes (diurnal birds of prey)



Cathartidae (New World vultures and condors)

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)










Visitor Photos
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Dan W. Andree

Turkey Vulture's....

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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
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  Turkey Vulture
Andy Reago & Chrissy McClarren
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Ed McVicker
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JMC Nature Photos
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Craig A. Mullenbach
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Visitor Videos
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Kirk Nelson
  Turkey vulture near Ford Dam 2019 07 13
Published on Jul 14, 2019

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

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

Other Videos
  Cool Critters: Turkey Vultures - KQED QUEST

Uploaded on Jun 24, 2009

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

  Black turkey vultures invade town

Published on Jan 3, 2012

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

  Turkey vultures!

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

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/




Visitor Sightings
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Ken N.

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

Feeding on small carcass roadside


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

nesting pair

Dan W. Andree

Location: rural Norman Co. MN

Turkey Vulture

Kirk Nelson

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

Location: rural Norman Co. MN

Turkey Vulture

Kirk Nelson

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


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

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. 


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

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

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

Location: Oakdale

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

R A Marsh

Location: Faribault MN

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

Scott Cole

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.


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

Gloria Broker

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.


Location: Glendorado, MN

Georgeanne Schulz

Location: morristown mn


Location: 7 miles north of Underwood

Pair sitting on our barn with wings spread.


Location: Rockford, Mn

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

Mary Kae

Location: Eagan

Seen in the city in a wooded area

Scott Cole

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

Turkey vultures riding the wind, April 2014


MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings

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Carpenter St. Croix Valley Nature Center

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