Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)

Order: Cathartiformes | Family: Cathartidae | IUCN Status: Least Concern

Age: Adult | Sex: Unknown | Loc. Mejia, Arequipa

Age: Adult | Sex: Unknown | Loc. San Fernando, Ica

Age: Juvenile | Sex: Unknown | Loc. Chiclayo, Lambayeque

Age: Adult | Sex: Unknown | Loc. Amazonia

Identification & Behavior: ~65 cm (25.5 in). The Turkey Vulture appears black from a distance but up close is dark brown and black with a featherless red head and pale bill and legs. Seen from below in flight, it shows bi-colored wings; black (wing lining) and gray (flight feathers. Juvenile birds have a blackish head. In Amazonia, it occurs with the very similar Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture and Greater Yellow-headed Vulture, but it is the only vulture with a red head. Turkey vulture is the only red-headed vulture.

Status: The Turkey Vulture is widespread in Amazonia, the coastal lowlands, and inter Andean Valleys in the Marañon drainage. Does not generally occur above 2300 m in the Andes. It also occurs in Co, Ec, Br, Bo, and Ch.

Name in Spanish: Gallinazo de Cabeza Roja

Sub-species: Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) Linnaeus, 1758.
C. a. ruficollis: Amazonian lowlands.
C. a. jota: Western Peru, Pacific coast.

Meaning of Name: Cathartes: Gr. kathartës, katharizö = cleaner, to clean. aura: aurouá = Mexican native name for a vulture.

See more of the Family Cathartidae  peru aves

Distribution Map
turkey vultureVoice:
Generally silent.

External Links:


    • Species range based on: Schulenberg, T. S., D. F. Stotz, and L. Rico. 2006.Distribution maps of the birds of Peru, version 1.0. Environment, Culture & Conservation (ECCo). The Field Museum.  http://fm2.fieldmuseum.org/uw_test/birdsofperu on 11/09/2014.