Turkey Vulture

Turkey vulture (Cathartes aura).
R.J. Long (Saskatchewan Environment) SKCDC, 2001. Ecosystem image information system

The turkey vulture (Cathartes aura) is one of the seven members of the family Cathartidae or New World vultures. These carrion-feeding birds, with their naked heads, weak, tearing beaks and long soaring wings, resemble the Old World vultures, which are carrion-feeding hawks. However, DNA analysis shows the New World vultures to be closely related to the storks.

The turkey vulture is found throughout Central and southern North America. In Saskatchewan, it is an uncommon nester in river valleys and coulees of the southeast. It can be seen soaring in the thermals of summer days, with its distinctive rectangular black wings and small head.

Diane Secoy

Further Reading

Alsop, Fred J., III. 2002. Birds of Canada. New York: Dorling Kindersley.