The turkey vulture is a bird of the vulture family, which can be found all across the Americas. In the different countries of the continent, it has different names, such as buzzard, aura, or just vulture. In Península Valdés, it is one of the largest of the vultures, with a red head, blackish plumage, more brown on the upper surface of the wings.
The underside of the flight feathers is grey, creating a sharp contrast. The head is small in proportion to the body and has no feathers – in adults it is reddish and in juveniles, it is black. It weighs between 3 lb / 6 lb ( 1.4 and 2.7 kg ), measures 23/29 in ( 60/76 cm ) in length and has a wingspan of up to 6.5 ft ( 2 m ). It glides with wings in a “V” shape and often sways in a way that gives the impression that it is drunk. It’s typically seen in Puerto Piramides, flying around the valley, and taking advantage of thermal wind generated by the hills that protect the town from east to west, on the north side. The turkey vulture is a scavenger, ranging over large distances and finding carrion with a keen sense of smell.
Typically, it will feed on the carcasses of sea lions, guanaco, hares and rabbits. If it finds a large piece of carrion, such as a calf, it will circle over it, to let other vultures know where the carcass is.