Buzzard Facts

Buzzard Facts
The turkey vulture is also referred to as a buzzard in the United States. A large, dark bird with a hideously ugly bald red head, the turkey vulture has a wingspan of about 6 feet and weighs approximately 6 pounds.


The range of this bird in the lower 48 states is extensive in every state with the sole exception of Maine, which has buzzards in only the southern portion.



The turkey vulture eats carrion, sticking its head right into dead animals' bodies, where bacteria thrives; after it eats, it sits in the sun and allows the organisms to be baked off.


The turkey vulture is the rare bird of prey that uses its extraordinary sense of smell to locate food, as it can detect the gas, known as mercaptan, that dead animals produce as they decay.

Expert Insight

The buzzard will defecate deliberately on its legs in an effort to cool off in hot weather, as the water in its feces will evaporate.

Fun Fact

Capable of soaring for long periods without ever flapping its wings, the turkey vulture rides warm air currents in circles as it scans areas for food.


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