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New World Vultures (Cathartidae)

Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura) - HBW 2, p. 39

French: Urubu à tête rouge German: Truthahngeier Spanish: Aura Gallipavo

Taxonomy: Vultur aura Linnaeus, 1758, Veracruz, Mexico.
Taxonomic status of all three Cathartes species rather uncertain; some forms currently considered races of present species may yet prove to merit treatment as full species. N populations of nominate race sometimes placed in separate race, meridionalis; those of Falkland Is and W South America sometimes separated off in race falklandicus; however, some variation clinal, and in general subject still poorly known (see page 25). Four subspecies usually recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution:

  • aura Linnaeus, 1758 - W North America S to Costa Rica; Greater Antilles.
  • septentrionalis Wied, 1839 - E North America.
  • ruficollis Spix, 1824 - S Central America (from Costa Rica S) and lowland South America; Trinidad.
  • jota (Molina, 1782) - Pacific coast of South America (from Ecuador S), E Andes, Patagonia, Falkland Is.

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