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Black vulture vs turkey vulture

FILE - A turkey vulture, left, and a black vulture, right.
Dave Govoni
FILE - A turkey vulture, left, and a black vulture, right.

Rudy Mancke breaks down the differences between black vultures and turkey vultures.

Transcript (edited for clarity):


Hi, this is Rudy Mancke from USC for NatureNotes.

The difference between a black vulture and a turkey vulture. A black vulture has sort of a gray or black head. The turkey vulture has a reddish head that makes it look like a turkey.

And when they're flying, the turkey vultures have that interesting little V-shaped angle with white on the back of the wings that runs along all of the back. And then a black vulture has black under the tips of the wings.

The other real difference too is that the turkey vulture has a very good sense of smell. The black vulture does not. So which one finds more food? Well, of course, you can smell around the corner. It's the turkey vulture with a better sense of smell.

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Rudy Mancke served as naturalist and co-host of South Carolina ETV's <i>NatureScene</i>, which began its long run in 1978. His field trips, broadcast nationwide, earned him a legion of dedicated viewers. Rudy's knowledge of the complex inner-workings of different ecosystems and his great admiration for the natural world make him the perfect guide. In fact, the National Wildlife Federation and the Garden Club of America honored his commitment to resource conservation with special awards. After retiring from SCETV, Rudy went on to become naturalist-in-residence at the University of South Carolina, Columbia. He hosted SC Public Radio's <i>NatureNotes</i> from 1999 until his death in 2023 at age 78.