Juvenile Turkey Vulture


This is the time to see a variety of juvenile birds flying around. They are as large as adults and they haven’t migrated yet. Further, they often look different from the adults. And, they are sometimes different in other ways.

The Turkey Vulture is one of those migrants. We have it from mid-March to mid-October when it breeds here. The juveniles look a bit different from the adults. 

First, a picture of an adult taken a few weeks ago. It has a red head and half of its bill is ivory.

Yesterday’s juvenile has a dark grey head and beak. This gradually shifts to adult colours over the course of a year or so. There are some other differences, but this will do for now.

I try not to disturb animals. Most of the time, when I am spotted, the animal just leaves. But there is another behaviour that seems confined to fresh juveniles: curiosity. On this occasion, I was quite visible as I was walking on the beach. A juvenile Turkey Vulture flew by overhead and on spotting me, it came down for a closer look. It then flew by repeatedly — maybe a half-dozen times. I have noticed this same curiosity with a few other fresh juveniles. 


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7 Responses to Juvenile Turkey Vulture

  1. Lorna Surina says:

    Very interesting Alistair. I guess I have never seen an immature turkey vulture although I have had some good views, unexpected, no camera of the adults. I love the photo of the soaring juvenile.

  2. Karen Pidcock says:

    Your experience with wild things always informative & interesting…thanks, Alistair!

  3. Christine Boyd says:

    These vultures have the fierce eyes of raptors. Very different from the sweet eyes of non-raptor birds. So interesting to see each type.

  4. SARAH says:

    The grayish tones of the juvenile make them look like black vultures?

  5. Gail Frampton says:

    We had one fly by our Condo window a few weeks ago! Big surprise to a few of us. Beautiful bird! Love your pictures Alistair!

  6. Stephen Wells says:

    I’ve had that same experience with young Turkey Vultures being curious and approaching! I always look up at them and say, “Not dead yet, thanks.” 😉

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