Talk:Turkey vulture

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Featured article Turkey vulture is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on December 26, 2014.
November 4, 2007 Featured article candidate Promoted


The image is a public domain picture from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

I believe the above is a California condor. Anyway, TVs don't have white underwings. So if anyone has a picture of a Turkey Vulture, the page needs one or two! (I'm trying to get one.) —JerryFriedman 19:22, 20 Aug 2004 (UTC)

Have no fear! I just took a great picture of one today. They're some of the most skittish birds I've ever met... -- Phyzome is Tim McCormack 01:56, 2004 Dec 16 (UTC)
Terrific picture - never seen one that close. Around here they're easy to find, but generally at least a hundred feet overhead. ;) The flight picture will also be useful to people trying to identify one, since it gives a good impression of the dihedral wing stance and upward wing tips in flight. - toh 2005 July 3 16:41 (UTC)

I have uploaded an alternate "Wing drying" picture which may better illustrate this activity on the part of TVs.

Mcvoorhis (talk) 15:45, 6 May 2012 (UTC)

No discussion for a month on my new TV Wing drying pic; I have replaced the existing pic with this new one. Mcvoorhis (talk) 15:06, 8 June 2012 (UTC)


I reverted recent taxobox edit. AOU is not the standard taxonomic classification outside N America, Wikipedia follows HBW

size? weight?[edit]

This article doesn't mention how big these birds are or how much they weigh, etc. There needs to be a better basic description of these birds methinks.

Coming home from work yesterday a vulture came out of a wooded area (road kill) and could not manuver fast enough to completey clear my truck. With only a slight thump it returned to the wooded area. The size of this bird blew my mind. I had never encountered a bird of that size. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:43, August 25, 2007 (UTC)

Moving North[edit]

The article is right in saying they are moving north, I live 50 miles south of the Canadian Border in Washington and they have moved in and become common in the last 5 years. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 21:29, 1 May 2007 (UTC).

they are found as far north as thunder bay in ontario, canada. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 23:29, 22 July 2008 (UTC)

I have them in my yard 50 miles north of San Francisco year-round (and have for at least the last 5 years). I think the range graphic might be out of date. Kevink707 (talk) 05:03, 8 March 2011 (UTC)

Seen in large numbers in Montreal, Canada, in late April and early May, 2013, in the Notre Dame des Neiges Cemetery. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:05, 17 May 2013 (UTC)

Turkey Buzzard[edit]

Although Turkey Buzzard redirects to this page, nowhere is the more common term mentioned on the main page. Yes, it's a misnomer since buzzards are properly broad-winged hawks; still, the common name for these birds all across the US is "buzzard" or "turkey buzzard" and an encyclopedia entry should mention this. They really aren't vultures, either, or are no closer related to true vultures than they are to true buzzards so leaving out one name in favor of the other looks sloppy. Halfelven 22:41, 6 August 2007 (UTC)

I don't think it's the most common name - in the English-speaking countries of the Caribbean, it's invariably Turkey Vulture or TV, and English speakers in the Spanish-speaking countries of Central and South America also appear to use the vulture version. And it is a vulture, just a different family to the Old World birds Jimfbleak 06:12, 7 August 2007 (UTC)
i have to say i think it's important to represent the state of affairs as it is, and not try to represent any particular viewpoint, especially on relatively arbitrary issues. yes, it's neither a true vulture nor a true buzzard. but depending upon where one lives and who one is raised by, either name could be confidently used to refer to this species (i myself was raised calling them "turkey buzzards", but now prefer to use "turkey vulture"). "common names" names are just that. - Metanoid (talk, email) 05:53, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
Surely the current version reflects the North American colloquial usage of Turkey Buzzard adequately? I don't think that the article suggests that it really is a buzzard, and it is a vulture, although the relationships with other families is in a state of flux. Jimfbleak 10:05, 27 October 2007 (UTC)
no, no, it's fine! just for the rec, i wasn't sure what the current state of affairs was and i might be back around in the near future, is all. :) - Metanoid (talk, email) 10:23, 27 October 2007 (UTC)


Caption on one of the pictures says "horaltic" pose. Should this be perhaps "heraldic"?Cvjara (talk) 17:42, 11 April 2008 (UTC)
Hmm. Seems to me this was discussed somewhere when this article was being developed, and the term was found to be a bogus one. Thought it had been removed, but looks like it hasn't! I'll do so now. MeegsC | Talk 22:22, 11 April 2008 (UTC)

Life span[edit]

I stumbled on a website that said this bird lived to be 118. I've stumbled on many but they all seem to be quoting a bulletin made by : Forest Preserve District of Cook County presents examples of extreme old age in a nature bulletin (No. 486-A, dated March 24, 1973).

I have only found this 118 year claim on searches for Turkey Buzzard and not for Turkey Vulture. Any ideas if there is any validity to this claim? If so it would be an interesting point to include in the article. I really don't want to add the info myself unless someone confirms this because I honestly have no idea.

Fa1512 (talk) 13:00, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

There is no reliable primary source, and certainly the longest life spans defy belief. The BTO, which is a reliable sources, give 28 years as the maximum for a Mute Swan jimfbleak (talk) 17:58, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

Life span--more[edit]

I don't know about 118 years, but at the raptor rehabilitation center I volunteer at, we have a turkey vulture that came in from the wild in 1988 (as an adult) and is still quite well, contrary to the described life span in captivity in the article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 17:45, 26 September 2008 (UTC)

Soaring habbits[edit]

These have become more common in the North East U.S. and can be seen soaring over highways in the Boston area. I have seen them on the ground eating road kill, and they're bigger than every bird in this area except the recently re-introduced Bald Eagle. They look just like hawks (with squared wing tips) except they fly in groups.

This is a simple distinction, while sometimes two hunting raptors can be seen flying together, the vultures often soar in small groups. I have also flown with them when hang gliding, three made a formation in front and three behind as we soared across the ridge. They're not skittish in the air :-) A hawk I approached during that same flight saw me, folded up it's wings, and dropped away !

The main Vulture page mentions 'kettle', and gives an example of large numbers of hawks flying together before migrating. This is news to me. Can this go in the [behavior] section ?

Thanks, - Lyle —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:32, 24 October 2008 (UTC)

request elaboration on flight habits[edit]

is it normal for these birds to circle potential meals, ive seen groups circle overhead far off, this is normal right? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Murakumo-Elite (talkcontribs) 08:00, 25 November 2008 (UTC)

I was surprised there was no mention of this bird's characteristic and commonly seen wheeling high in the air in groups around carrion on the ground, letting fellow vultures know to join in the feast - interesting to me that this is an unselfish bird, refusing to swoop down and devour the food alone, instead advertising and sharing the food with his comrades - this behavior is not discussed in the current article. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 14:13, 13 January 2011 (UTC)

Thank you for your suggestion. When you believe an article needs improvement, please feel free to make those changes. Wikipedia is a wiki, so anyone can edit almost any article by simply following the edit this page link at the top. The Wikipedia community encourages you to be bold in updating pages. Don't worry too much about making honest mistakes—they're likely to be found and corrected quickly. If you're not sure how editing works, check out how to edit a page, or use the sandbox to try out your editing skills. New contributors are always welcome. You don't even need to log in (although there are many reasons why you might want to). Walter Siegmund (talk) 05:19, 16 January 2011 (UTC)

I was observing this vulture eating road kill while it was being attacked by Tyrant flycatchers, blackbirds or sparrows (I didn't pay much attention to the attacking bird). It took flight at times, with the little bird swooping from above, hitting the back of the vulture with it's legs, probably trying to protect it's nest. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 13:27, 5 June 2012 (UTC)

Sense of Smell[edit]

Requesting references for all dubious statements regarding sense of smell. It is a well known scientific fact that all birds lost the sense of smell at an early ancestral stage before extant species developed, even missing cranial nerve zero. Size of a brain lobe does not necessarily indicate strength of function, and Irene Pepperberg has demonstrated that, in fact, birds use different brain structures for functions that differ from mammals. Therefore, it is QUITE counter intuitive, contrary to popular belief, that ANY bird would have a sense of smell.Jkhamlin (talk) 15:45, 15 February 2009 (UTC)

I'll go digging for the refs later today, but [1] deals with the ability to smell in Yellow-headed Vultures. Rufous-crowned Sparrow (talk) 18:51, 8 April 2009 (UTC)

DIET-Predation of live animals[edit]

I have been observing Turkey Vultures on and near my property in Morris County NJ for 20 years. I have personally observed Turkey buzzards killing live prey 3 times. In the first instance, a Vulture dove on a Robin on the ground, killed it and devored it in less than a minute. The second instance was similar except the Vulture killed a gray squirrel. He devored most of it on the ground. He did NOT fly off with it like a hawk would. The third instance involved a very large flock of blackbirds. The Vulture landed in my tree while the large swarm of blackbirds was accross the street about 200 yards away. He waited for the flock to land on my lawn and after a few minutes he dove off the limb directly to the lawn killing and devoring a blackbird. In my opinion, Turkey Vultures do hunt and kill live prey much more often than what is stated in the article.

Rjs324 (talk) 13:30, 12 October 2011 (UTC)

Comment: I highly doubt this. Turkey vulture are relatively clumsy fliers that lack the speed and agility to catch live prey. Their feet are flat and non-raptorial, lacking the gripping ability and strength needed to capture live prey. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:45, 14 April 2013 (UTC)

Why is Vulture Capitalized?[edit]

Surely this should be "Turkey vulture". It is not, in any sense I can think of, a proper noun. Someone needs to swap the names of this article, "Turkey Vulture", and the "Turkey vulture" redirect. --Kaz (talk) 15:28, 9 March 2012 (UTC)

It is a convention that bird names are capitalized (unlike mammals). Dger (talk) 22:31, 6 May 2012 (UTC)
Then, why is it not capitalized on the text? — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:21, 21 June 2013 (UTC)

Range map[edit]

The range map suggests that the birds are only in north central North America, the yellow area, in summer; and only present from the So. USA to Tierra del Fuego in winter. This does not match the article text, and suggests that there is nowhere that the birds live all year round. - Smerdis of Tlön - killing the human spirit since 2003! 01:25, 26 December 2014 (UTC)

Audio version[edit]

Between the recording of the audio version currently linked to from the bottom of this article, and today, this much has changed. Should we now delete that outdated link? Andy Mabbett (Pigsonthewing); Talk to Andy; Andy's edits 09:28, 26 December 2014 (UTC)

new photo[edit]

I'd like to suggest the inclusion of this photo. Regards, OTAVIO1981 (talk) 20:57, 30 May 2016 (UTC)

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