A distinctive bird, the king vulture is easily recognized. In this post, you'll learn 34 king vulture facts, including diet, size, wingspan, habitat, unique features and more. As with all scavengers, their actions are important to keep the environment free of dead and decomposing animals, which may help reduce sources of disease. Instead of building nests, they lay their eggs in a stump or the hollow of a rotting log or a crevice in a tree. , Because of its large size and beauty, the king vulture is an attraction at zoos around the world. It also appears in numerous stamps of countries within its range.  The juvenile vulture has a dark bill and eyes, and a downy, gray neck that soon begins to turn the orange of an adult. They make loud snorting and wheezing noises during mating. Other birds treat the King vulture as the king, for example, when it flies in, other birds will stop feeding and let it eat. The range of the king vulture extends from southern Mexico to northern Argentina.  A king vulture mates for life and generally lays a single unmarked white egg in its nest in a hollow in a tree.  While perched, it holds its head lowered and thrust forward. It also displaces smaller New World vulture species from a carcass. 2. But at a carcass, it lives up to its name when others stand back, giving way to the power of its mighty bill. , The genus Sarcoramphus, which today contains only the king vulture, had a wider distribution in the past. Vultures are carnivores and scavengers and feed mainly on carrion of freshly killed animals. , The king vulture soars for hours effortlessly, only flapping its wings infrequently. The first is that the name is a reference to its habit of displacing smaller vultures from a carcass and eating its fill while they wait. The fossil record, though scant, supports the theory that the ancestral king vultures and South American condors separated at least some 5 mya.  However, when it is at the same kill as the larger Andean condor, the king vulture always defers to it. The king vulture (Sarcoramphus papa) is a large bird found in Central and South America. King Vulture on Te IUCN Red List site -, https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_vulture, http://www.iucnredlist.org/details/22697645/0. Unlike many New World vultures, the king vulture does not have eyelashes. Just how different the two are is currently under debate, with some earlier authorities suggesting that the New World vultures are more closely related to storks. They will not be able to survive if the forests where they live disappear. The colorful king vulture reigns over Mayan jungle ruins, where it's well-adapted to its scavenger lifestyle. They are often seen perching high in trees under cover, or soaring very high up in the sky. Principally a carrion eater, there are isolated reports of it killing and eating injured animals, newborn calves and small lizards. Each species account is written by leading ornithologists and provides detailed information on bird distribution, migration, habitat, diet, sounds, behavior, breeding, current population status, and conservation.  To ward off potential predators, the vultures keep their nests foul-smelling. , Little can be said of the evolutionary history of the genus, mainly because remains of other Neogene New World vultures are usually younger or even more fragmentary. During breeding they will give warning sounds when something approaches their nest. Plus lots of photos. The scope of this article is limited to the vultures of North, Central, and South America. In South America, it does not live west of the Andes, except in western Ecuador, north-western Colombia and far north-western Venezuela. It also inhabits wooded country with game animals and livestock, up to 3,000 metres above sea level. Enter Bird's Name in Search Box: www.birds-of-north-america.net: Life, Habitat and Pictures of the King Vulture. , Dark-plumaged immature birds may be confused with turkey vultures, but soar with flat wings, while the pale plumaged adults could feasibly be confused with the wood stork, although the latter's long neck and legs allow for easy recognition from afar. Some smaller vulture species can be found in suburban areas. It has wide range, but some declines occur due to habitat destruction and deforestation, and poaching.  It is non-migratory and, unlike the turkey, lesser yellow-headed and American black vulture, it generally lives alone or in small family groups. The preferred habitats of the Vulture are deserts, savannas and grassland near a water source.  Generally, it only eats the skin and harder parts of the tissue of its meal. King vultures do not gather in large groups but remain in family units.  An adult king vulture sexually matures when it is about four or five years old, with females maturing slightly earlier than males. And, as usual, they are often threatened by habitat destruction 1. Although King vultures are not listed universally as endangered, populations are decreasing as a result of habitat destruction.  Sometimes the bird is portrayed as a god with a human body and a bird head. The King vulture is the most brilliantly colored New World vulture, with varying hues ranging from blue and purple to red or orange on its head. Mainly frequenting humid tropical forests, they may sometimes be seen in more open areas like savannahs and grasslands. Large and predominantly white, the king vulture has gray to black ruff, flight, and tail feathers. Females become mature at around 5 years of age, and males at around 7 years of age. King vultures are carnivores and scavengers, eating carrion almost exclusively, including dead fish along the shores of streams. Not much is known about king vultures. The king vulture has a very noticeable orange fleshy caruncle on its beak. The king vulture was originally described by Carl Linnaeus in 1758 in the tenth edition of his Systema Naturae as Vultur papa, the type specimen originally collected in Suriname. The closest relatives to King vultures are condors. The king vulture is a bird of the Loner lowland tropics, but occasionally The king vulture is at is found up to 8,250' on the home in the deep gloom slopes of the Andes mountains. Native Habitat These vultures range from southern Mexico to southern Argentina, where they prefer densely forested, tropical, lowland habitat. They are typically found in areas where at least some forest cover is nearby. There are 15 species of Old World Vultures and 7 species of New World Vultur… King vultures grow to about 2.5 feet (0.8 meters) tall and can weigh up to 8 pounds (3.7 kilograms), making them the largest New World vulture, except for condors. 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