King Vulture
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King Vulture

The King Vulture is a large bird found in Central and South America. It is a member of the New World vulture family Cathartidae.

Excluding the two species of condors, the King Vulture is the largest of the New World vultures. Its overall length ranges from 27–32 inches and its wingspan is 4–6 feet. Its weight ranges from 6–10 lbs. An imposing bird, the adult King Vulture has predominantly white plumage, which has a slight rose-yellow tinge to it.

There are two theories on how the King Vulture earned the “King” part of its common name. 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. An alternative theory reports that the name is derived from Mayan legends, in which the bird was a king who served as a messenger between humans and the gods.

Fun Facts

  • The King Vulture has a very noticeable yellow fleshy caruncle on its beak.

About Lois

Conservation Status:
Least Concern
Extinct Threatened Least
King Vulture

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