King Vulture Facts and Information

Sarcoramphus papa

Introduction to King Vulture

The King Vulture is more colorful and appealing than other species of the Vulture. They have a wing span that can be up to 6 feet. They are fast, powerful, and have great vision. Their beak is more curved than other species of Vultures. It is also more powerful so they can get through even the toughest of animal carcasses to feed upon. The King Vulture may weigh from 6 to 10 pounds.

King Vulture Description

This Vulture has a cream or white color on the front of the body and the back. About half way down the back it turns into dark blue or black coloring. They do have white under the black but that won’t be visible unless they are in flight. They have a small head that is red in color. They have orange on beak and some areas of orange under the neck. The back of the neck is red.

Class Aves
Order Incertae sedis
Family Cathartidae
Genus Sarcoramphus
Conservation status Least Concern

King Vulture Distribution

This Vulture lives mainly around the savannas and the forest regions. Both Mexico and Argentina offer the largest numbers of them. They tend to prefer open regions where they are able to have plenty of options for food. For this particular bird home really comes down to being any place where they can get their need for food met.

They live in small groups or in solitary so they often don’t have a big worry about competitors and they spread out well into the open regions.

King Vulture Behavior

The King Vulture has a talent for being able to conserve its energy. They are able to glide in the air using the currents from the wind. They are rarely aggressive, even to other Vultures. As a result when this one comes along to eat other species of birds will typically leave the find. They don’t want to get into a confrontation with such a powerful bird.

King Vulture Facts

King Vulture – Sarcoramphus papa

King Vulture Feeding

Like all Vultures this one consumes carrion. That is the remains of dead animals. They may have died of natural causes or be the remains from what other predators have killed. The King Vulture is able to consume food that has recently died or that has been left to rot in the heat. They are able to consume it without getting ill – something that very few other types of living things would be able to. As a result they really do offer a necessary element in the balance of nature.

King Vulture Reproduction

The King Vulture is very particular about finding a mate. The males often call out to the females. They will also display their feathers in a variety of rituals to be able to get their attention. It can take many hours for a female to decide if she will mate with that particular male or not. Once a pair has decided to mate they will likely pair up every year.

There is usually only one egg that will be provided annually for this bird. That enables the parents to have a better chance of caring for it. They will incubate it for about 57 days. Then the parents will take turns watching over it and bringing back food. In about 3 months the young can fly and go feed with the parents.

Their lifespan can be up to 40 years in captivity.

King Vulture Information

King Vulture Facts and Information


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