The turkey vulture, frequently but mistakenly called a buzzard in the United States, is a scavenger which can smell a dead animal from a long way off. Buzzards are common throughout all of North and South America except for northern Canada.
The average turkey vulture is about 30 inches in length with a wingspan of 6 feet; it can weigh as much as 6 pounds.
The feathers of the buzzard are a blackish-brown in color on the body with the wing feathers looking almost silver-grayish when viewed from beneath the flying bird.
The head of a turkey vulture is smallish when compared to the bird's body, is nearly devoid of any feathers, and is red, making the bird appear quite ugly.
The buzzard in flight will hold its wings in the shape of a V and hardly ever flap them as it soars on warm air currents in circles.
Turkey vultures are often seen circling together in groups, but this behavior does not have to mean that a dead creature is nearby; the birds may be riding wind currents together or just playing.