sdearth

vulchers

33 posts in this topic

confirm please

is this a black and a turkey shareing a meal. I remember reading one of the posts about juve turkeys having a black head. I still think the one on the right is a black. Cant we all just get along like this???

vulchers.jpg

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You're right on! Good comparison, showing the shorter wings and tail of the Black Vulture. Unless I'm crazy, the skin on the head of the Black extends farther down than the Turkey...

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Yup, one of each! Good comparison photo - the black is blacker and has a shorter tail.

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I had a good turkey vulcher and was looking for a good black, but now I have one very good pic. It will be a while before I can get one better

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Congratulations on the picture! You'll get better at telling the difference with a bit of practice. When they're flying, the different wing pattern and shape gets easy to recognize after a while. I often see Black and Turkey Vultures hanging out together.

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GreatHorn, that mark is something I've tried to use with no luck. Now, thanks to your statement and a little research, I know why -- turns out both species can expand or contract the skin on their heads, so the feathering can appear to reach the top of the nape, or halfway down the neck. On either species!

Ah, well, another neat idea killed by the facts!

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Really! That is pretty neat. In that case, I'm not sure I've ever seen a TV with its skin expanded, nor a Black Vulture with its skin contracted. Can anybody find photos showing this phenomenon?

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That depends -- by photos do you mean quality shots?

I don't have any Black Vulture shots showing anything, but here's a couple of Turkey Vulture shots. The first one was taken with a film camera way back in 98.

8362074767_7b1b41f0e7_z.jpg

Turkey Vulture 4 7-27-98 AZ by psweet1, on Flickr

8362087191_872e7baff0_z.jpg

Turkey Vulture 9-24-12 37 IL by psweet1, on Flickr

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That depends -- by photos do you mean quality shots?

I don't have any Black Vulture shots showing anything, but here's a couple of Turkey Vulture shots. The first one was taken with a film camera way back in 98.

8362074767_7b1b41f0e7_z.jpg

Turkey Vulture 4 7-27-98 AZ by psweet1, on Flickr

8362087191_872e7baff0_z.jpg

Turkey Vulture 9-24-12 37 IL by psweet1, on Flickr

Crazy bullseye marking on that 2nd one!

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Okay, I think I'm seeing something different. On the BVs, the skin appears very thick and wrinkly, equivalent to that of a 90 year old person (no offense, Bigfoot). On TVs, the skin is flatter and smoother equivalent to that of a 16 year old. On the neck, it almost looks as though the skin of a BV overlaps its feathers, whereas the feathers of a TV most certainly overlap the skin.

TV: http://cabezaprieta.org/images/hedrick/turkey_vulture_2.jpg

BV: http://world.std.com/~eva/florida/black_vulture.jpg

In the past I've seen this as something of a difference between them, am I seeing things?

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Again, a very brief google image search shows a lot of wrinkled TV's. Or is someone (me!) just missing your droll humor, again? :D

(I know that grammatically, that 'me' should be 'I'. It just sounds so...snooty...)

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You may have something with regards to the wrinkles, but I'm not sure how useful it'll be in the field -- any bird you get that close to, you should already have nailed. I wouldn't be surprised if your experiences with the two may have to do with where and when you see them. I've seen it hypothesized, rather sensibly, I think, that the bare skin on vultures is actually a way of dealing with the temperature changes involved with quickly descending several thousand feet to feed. Which would suggest that if you're seeing Blacks towards the north end of their range, or in the winter, and Turkey Vultures in relatively warm weather, you'd see a difference between the two.

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Again, a very brief google image search shows a lot of wrinkled TV's. Or is someone (me!) just missing your droll humor, again? :D

(I know that grammatically, that 'me' should be 'I'. It just sounds so...snooty...)

No deadpan, droll humor to see here. Please link your pictures, because I can't find any examples of TVs where the skin "overlaps" the feathers like on that BV.

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Well, admittedly I didn't click on any of them; guess I was thinking like psweet that if you were that close...

Here, we can click on them together. :D

https://www.google.com/search?num=10&hl=en&site=imghp&tbm=isch&source=hp&biw=1140&bih=575&q=turkey+vultures&oq=turkey+vultures&gs_l=img.3..0l3j0i24l7.2275.5025.0.5384.15.9.0.6.6.0.93.729.9.9.0...0.0...1ac.1.2rty1MSm0gA

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Doing the same cursory image search for BV, the most salient head diff that stand out for me is simply proportion. The TV's have so much more of a pinhead.

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Here, how about this one: http://vulturesociet...ood_nostril.jpg

Nope, it doesn't look like the BV

Maybe this? http://ibc.lynxeds.c..._Vulture_DD.jpg

Nope, not even close

Okay, how about: http://3.bp.blogspot...SC1862 copy.jpg

Hmmm, not that one either.

Now the Black Vulture comparisons...

http://www.vulture-t...ack-vulture.jpg

Hmmm....

http://ibc.lynxeds.c...e_ed_5_7_60.jpg

Need I say more?

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I often use the very small head of a TV and the often very obvious light bill as distinguishing field marks.

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I must say, I'm impressed, cestma. I was only able to find one misidentified photo in that whole batch -- usually when I try google images I expect closer to 20%!

Wheeler actually mentions wrinkly skin on Black Vultures as an ID trait, and points out that you don't see it in juveniles. I still can't see using it in the field, but in photos where you can't see the back end, perhaps.

Another point for this sort of photo work -- juvenile Turkey Vultures are dark on the tip of the bill and white at the base. Black's are darker at the base, and paler at the tip.

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Uncle!

(But if I saw any 16-year olds looking like that first shot, I'd probably get sick...)

(I suppose no one know what it means to "cry uncle" anymore...)

EDIT--This was in response to Great Horn. Coupla other posts sneaked in in the meantime!

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Good talk, fellows. I am sticking by my argument. I do not mean to say it is a rock-solid mark to be used from a distance in the field, but it is a difference I have noticed consistently in these vultures. If you find a Turkey Vulture with very thick, wrinkly skin that clearly seems to "overlap" the feathers on the neck, please send a picture to me with the caption "neener neener!" I am not expecting to see any soon.

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I think you all are talking about a age thing, just like in Wood Storks (which Vultures are closely related to) and Roseate Spoonbills.

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I must say, I'm impressed, cestma. I was only able to find one misidentified photo in that whole batch -- usually when I try google images I expect closer to 20%!

Wheeler actually mentions wrinkly skin on Black Vultures as an ID trait, and points out that you don't see it in juveniles. I still can't see using it in the field, but in photos where you can't see the back end, perhaps.

Another point for this sort of photo work -- juvenile Turkey Vultures are dark on the tip of the bill and white at the base. Black's are darker at the base, and paler at the tip.

Heh--doing the same search for "juvenile TV" yields a BV about 4 shots in!

https://www.google.com/search?q=juvenile+turkey+vulture&hl=en&tbo=u&tbm=isch&source=univ&sa=X&ei=FrrsUKmAGoS_2QWorIHIAg&sqi=2&ved=0CDkQsAQ&biw=1058&bih=533

Yeah, I almost never post about Google Images w/o including a caveat about misidentifications. It can be a quick-and-dirty way to look at a lot of pics, tho, if you're careful. Sometimes the picture is actually correct, but the search has mis-ID'd it; for instance, the picture caption of a BV may start by referring to a TV for comparison purposes, and that mention is all that google needs.

Then there was Great Horn's caveat about searching for "female redheads..." :D

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