The creature called the turkey buzzard hovers over the land like a fallen angel. A great carrion bird with a naked, raddled head and plumage like an old shroud, watching for death with his amazing eyes.
Other birds and animals do not fear him, for unlike his raptor cousins he does not bring death; he only attends it. Somewhere along the antediluvian track he specialized, losing his raptorial talons and the killing power of his feet. When the buzzard lost his ability to kill and embraced a postmortem cuisine, he became the most despised of birds.
He is certainly the ugliest. Not just homely, but repugnant in an epic, classic way. He’s the Ugly Champ of America, hands down. His feathers are a rusty black edged with brown and his only color is in the naked atrocity of a head.
John Madson, Stories from Under the Sky.