At a distance, turkey vultures appear to be black, but they're actually brown, taking on a golden hue in the right light. Their heads are featherless, the red skin exposed. Their black vulture cousins are black with a gray head. Turkey vultures are easy to identify in flight as they "wobble" along, their wings in a V shape. The undersides of their wings have a distinct dark and light pattern. Black vultures are more steady in flight and have white-tipped wings that become evident when they fly.
Turkey vultures are large birds that can exceed 30 inches long, with a wingspan approaching six feet. They aren't as gregarious as black vultures and tend to feed one at a time. They have a keen sense of smell, which they use to locate dead critters. Black vultures don't, and locate carrion by following the flight of turkey vultures. Favorite food: a recently deceased mammal, but they will eat older carrion as well as the occasional dead reptile, fish and other animals. Unlike the more aggressive blacks, turkey vultures rarely attack live animals.
Turkey vultures nest on the ground in concealed or covered places, in fallen trees, thickets, old burrows, ledges and caves. It really doesn't make any kind of nest whatsoever. Clutches are one to three eggs, which require four to six weeks of incubation, performed by both parents. The youngsters are nest bound for two to three months. Both parents feed their offspring. Turkey vultures are members of the family Cathartidae.