To start the mating ritual, several birds gather on the ground and begin hopping around in a circle with wings partially spread. In flight a bird might closely follow a potential mate while continuing a ritual of flapping and diving.
Adult mated pairs spend much more time with one another than with other vultures. Mating-pair bonds last throughout the breeding season and often all year long.
Mating System: monogamous
Breeding takes place from March to June in North America. Nest sites are usually found in sheltered areas such as hollow trees or logs, crevices in cliffs, or in old buildings. Little or no nest is actually built in these sites. Their eggs are laid on debris or the flat bottom of the nest site. Eggs are off-white and marked with brown and lavender. Incubation time is typically 30 to 40 days. Young reach the fledging stage at 70 to 80 days old and are independent about a week later.
Breeding interval: Turkey vultures breed once yearly.
Breeding season: Breeding occurs from March to June in North America.
Range eggs per season: 1 to 3.
Range time to hatching: 30 to 40 days.
Range fledging age: 70 to 80 days.
Range time to independence: 80 to 90 days.
Key Reproductive Features: seasonal breeding ; gonochoric/gonochoristic/dioecious (sexes separate)
Average eggs per season: 2.
Turkey vulture chicks are altricial. Adults care for them for 70 to 80 days by regurgitating well-digested food several times daily and providing some protection. Both adults care fr the young. If adults are threatened when nesting, they might flee, regurgitate on the intruder, or play dead.
Parental Investment: altricial ; pre-fertilization (Provisioning, Protecting: Female); pre-hatching/birth (Provisioning: Female, Protecting: Male, Female); pre-weaning/fledging (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Male, Female); pre-independence (Provisioning: Male, Female, Protecting: Male, Female)
- Kaufman, K. 1996. Lives of North American Birds. New York, NY: Houghton Mifflin Field Guides.
- Fergus, C. 2003. Wildlife of Virginia and Maryland. Mechanicsburg, PA: Stackpole Books.
- Rabenold, P. 1986. Family Associations in Communally Roosting Black Vultures. The Auk, 103(1): 32-41.
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