Turkey Vultures at the Zoo

Emises – She was hit by a car back in 2011 and her injuries required a wing amputation leaving her flightless. She could not be released back into the wild.
Chum and Hurley – Rescued in 2023 from the Juan A. Rivero Zoo in Puerto Rico.



(Cathartes Aura)

A long-winged, dark-feathered, high-soaring bird of North America. Unlike most birds who are thought to have a poor sense of smell, the Turkey Vulture can locate carrion by odor.

What do they eat?

Mainly Carrion – dead animals; decaying vegetables, live insects, and even fish in dried-up ponds.

How long do they live?

15-20 years in the wild.

How many can be born at a time?

Normally 2 eggs are laid, but it can vary.

Where are they found? 

Quite widespread across the U.S. Southern flocks will remain present year-round; however, Northern flocks will migrate long distances – even reaching S. America.

Interesting facts:
  • One of their main defense mechanisms is to regurgitate/vomit when threatened; the smell is quite pungent and unpleasant to be around.
  • Their role within the environment is to clean up dead animals – and they do a phenomenal job.