7 Crucial Difference Between Wild Turkey and Turkey Vulture with Table

What is the difference between wild turkey and turkey vulture?

Wild turkey and turkey vultures do not have much in common. They are different from each other physically and behaviorally. Both are large birds without feathers on their heads which are red. The two feed on different foodstuffs.

The main difference between a wild turkey and a turkey vulture is that wild turkey are granivores and they are ground-based while turkey vultures are carrion eaters and soar high in the sky looking for their food from above.

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Difference Between Wild Turkey and Turkey Vulture

Comparison Table (Wild Turkey vs Turkey Vulture)

Characteristics Wild turkey Turkey vulture
Habitats They live in both softwood and hardwood habitats; with orchards, fields, seasonal marshes, and pastures. They live in open and semi-open areas.
Socialization They communicate with others through clucks, purrs, gobbles, yelps, wines, kee-kees, and putts. They communicate with others through low hisses and grunts.
What they feed on They are omnivores widely feeding on nuts, seeds, roots, insects, and small reptiles. They are carnivores and feed on decaying animals, open lying fish, and live insects.
Flight They fly fast and are agile. They do not fly fast.
Species There are 6 sub-species of wild turkey. There are 5 sub-species of turkey vultures.
Geographical location They are native to North America. They are found in southern Canada and South America.
Color They have dark-blackish or grey with coppery sheen color. They have brown to black body feathers and silver-grey flight feathers.
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What is Wild Turkey?

It is similar to domestic turkey. It is native to North America. They are ground birds and they look for their food on the ground. They live both in softwoods and hardwoods. The color of its feathers is dark-blackish or grey with a coppery sheen. They have a growth on the heads referred to as caruncles.

They have three toes in the front and a rear-facing shorter toe in the back. Males have a spur behind the lower legs. The males are larger and easily noticeable than the females. They have vocal organs and they communicate to others in various ways. They can cluck, purr, gobble, yelp, whine, kee-kee, or even putts.

They are fast fliers and agile although they are heavy. Their eyesight is good for the day but it gets poor at night. Their predators may hunt on them at night. They are omnivores although they mostly prefer nuts, seeds, or roots. Sometimes they feed on insects and small reptiles.

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Wild turkeys balance the ecosystem and they are also important in North America where it is mostly used in cultural functions as the main meal in thanksgiving feasts.

What is Turkey Vulture?

There are 5 sub-species of a turkey vulture. It is a species of scavenger bird mostly found in southern Canada and South America. It mostly lives in open and semi-open areas such as pastures, shrublands, subtropical forests, and deserts.

It has brownish to black body feathers and silver-grey flight feathers. The adults have smaller heads in comparison to the rest of the body. The head is red and has no feathers.

They are carnivores. They mostly rely on meat. They feed on decaying animals, open lying fish, and live insects. They have keen eyesight and a sense of smell which enable them to fly low and identify decaying animals.

The turkey vulture does not have the vocal organ in birds (syrinx). This makes them have few ways in which they communicate with others. They are only able to hiss or grunt as a means of communication.

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Main Differences between Wild Turkey and Turkey Vulture

  1. Wild turkeys live both in softwood and hardwood forests while turkey vultures live in open and semi-open areas.
  2. Wild turkeys have the vocal organs (syrinx) which enable them to communicate in various ways while turkey vultures do not have the vocal organ.
  3. Wild turkeys are omnivores while turkey vultures are carnivores.
  4. Wild turkeys are fast fliers and agile while turkey vultures cannot fly fast.
  5. There are 6 sub-species of wild vultures while there are 5 sub-species of turkey vultures.
  6. Wild vultures have dark-blackish or grey with coppery sheen color while vulture turkey has brownish to black body feathers and silver-grey flight feathers.
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Similarities between Wild Turkey and Turkey Vulture

  1. They are both large in size.
  2. They both have no feathers on their heads.
  3. They both have keen eyesight.
  4. Both are protected against illegal activities that could threaten their existence.

In Conclusion

The wild turkey is found in both softwood and hardwood forests. Turkey vultures are found in open and semi-open areas. Wild turkeys find their food on the ground hence granivores while turkey vultures fly high above to find their food. The main feature that makes wild turkey different from turkey vulture is the type of food they rely on.

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