Also known as the Turkey Vulture. Cathartes (== Genus) aura (== species epithet). The Turkey Vulture is a carrion-eating denizen of the United States. This bird is a popular fixture in old west imagery probably because it symbolizes/evokes the relentless lethality of the desert. According to my restoration ecology professor, the U.S. is the only English-speaking country that uses buzzard to refer to something other than a member of the genus Buteo (or close relatives) because the early European settlers couldn't tell the difference between one large bird or another. Thus, they erroneously called the Turkey Vulture a buzzard and the name stuck. You can distinguish a Turkey Vulture in flight from a distance because it wobbles when it soars.

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