Turkey buzzards, formally known as turkey vultures, are dark brown in color, have a bald, featherless red head and white, hooked bill. They wobble in flight, beating their wings infrequently, their long tails extending beyond their toe tips and their wings slightly raised. Using their well-developed sense of smell to identify preferably fresh carrion, they also feed on live insects, live fish and decaying vegetable matter. Rarely building typical nests, turkey vultures often lay their eggs on debris piles.
Turkey vulture eggs are a whitish color with brown and lavender blotches and incubating, done by both parents, usually takes 34 to 41 days. Both parents also feed the young, who take their first flight at about nine to 10 weeks. Younger birds present with a dark head, and their beaks are dark and pale only at the tip. Turkey vultures breed in the summer across the middle of the United States and are found year-round in the southern United States and Central and South America. When threatened, these birds make a hissing sound and sometimes vomit to defend themselves.
The feathers underneath a turkey vulture's wings, close to the wing tips, are lighter in color than its dark brown plumage. A turkey vulture's wingspan is approximately 69 inches and its length 27 inches. In flight, the turkey vulture's slightly raised wings make it appear to fly in a v-shape.