Because turkey vultures are major consumer of carrion, they play an important role in biodegradation.
Black vultures follow turkey vultures to carcasses and then aggressively out-compete them at the carcass.
There are multiple parasitic bacteria that have been associated with turkey vultures. In a study in Texas, two ectoparasites from families Cimididae and Hippoboscidae were found to be on some turkey vultures. Another study at the University of California showed that turkey vultures are capable of contracting Chlamydiosis. This was observed in a captive subject at a raptor rehabilitation center in California in 1983.
Ecosystem Impact: biodegradation
- Wilson, N., G. Oliver, Jr.. 1978. Noteworthy Records of Two Ectoparasites (Cimididae and Hippoboscidae) from the Turkey Vulture in Texas. The Southwestern Naturalist, 23(2): 305-307.
- Fowler, M., T. Schulz, A. Ardans, B. Reynolds, D. Behymer. 1990. Chlamydiosis in Captive Raptors. Avian Diseases, 34(3): 657-662.
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