The turkey vulcher, Cathartes aura, is found in most of North and South America, including many of the Carribean islands. These birds are huge, with wingspans between 4-6 feet and a body length of 2-3 feet.
These birds are scavengers, feeding mostly on dead animals or carcasses. Next time you think about how tasty that turkey vulture would taste with the road kill deer you just threw in your truck, think again... In the U.S. the turkey vulcher receives legal protection under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918, outlawing the killing or hunting of this bird.
Below is the region most turkey vultures are found:
The Turkey Vulture is gregarious and roosts in large community groups, breaking away to forage independently during the day. The Turkey Vulture has few natural predators. Adult, immature and fledging vultures may fall prey to golden eagles, bald eagles, or owls while eggs and nestlings may be preyed on by mammals such as raccoons, opossum, and foxes.Quite interestingly, its primary form of defense is regurgitating semi-digested meat, a foul-smelling substance which deters most creatures intent on raiding a vulture nest. Aside from eating recently killed animals, It may rarely feed on plant matter, shoreline vegetation, pumpkin and other crops, live insects, and other small invertebrates.
The Turkey Vulture is sometimes accused of carrying anthrax or hog cholera, both livestock diseases, on its feet or bill by cattle ranchers and is therefore occasionally perceived as a threat.
Populations appear to remain stable, and it has not reached the threshold of inclusion as a threatened species, which requires a decline of more than 30 percent in ten years or three generations.