Environmental Research Unit, PO Box 434, Stanley, Falkland Islands
Turkey VultureCathartes aura falklandica
Local Name: Turkey Buzzard
Breeding Range: Falkland Islands
Falklands Population: ~3,000 breeding pairs
World Population: as above (subspecies restricted to Falklands)
The Turkey Vulture is the largest and most abundant bird of prey in the Falklands. It is found in virtually all areas and in all habitat types, but chooses rocky crags, caves and tussac islands for nesting. The nest is a simple hollow, with 2 eggs being laid during September and October. Chicks remain in the nest until they fledge in February. Adults are carrion feeders, soaring high above the ground in search of virtually any type of carcass that they can find. They also feed on faeces and placentas amongst colonies of seals and sealions. Sexes are similar in appearance. The characteristic shallow v-shaped profile in flight makes the Turkey Vulture easy to identify even at a distance. Turkey Vultures are unpopular with farmers on account of attacking stranded or sickly sheep prior to death.