[Mystery bird] Turkey Vulture, Cathartes aura, photographed at Brazos Bend State Park, Needville, Texas. [I will identify this bird for you in 48 hours]
Image: Joseph Kennedy, 28 November 2007 [larger view].
Nikon D200, Kowa 883 telescope with TSN-PZ camera eyepiece 1/750s f/8.0 at 1000.0mm iso400.
Please name at least one field mark that supports your identification.
This challenging-to-ID-from-this-image mystery bird has a special foraging ability that other members of this family lack. Can you tell me what that is?
The Turkey Vulture is one of the few bird species that has a highly-developed olfactory sense. Turkey Vultures can locate hidden carcasses by scent alone, while most other vultures are sight hunters and rely upon actually seeing a carcass, or they rely upon observing the behaviors of other soaring scavengers who have located a dying animal to cue them in to the presence of a carcass.