King Vulture

King Vulture
Sarcoramphus papa


Quick Facts

King Vulture

Found:  Mexico to South America
Size:  6 foot wingspan
Weight:  6 to 10 pounds
Diet:  Dead animals and fish
Status:  Common

The King Vulture has a brightly colored bald head and neck, that keeps it more bacteria free than having feathers would. Some types of vultures are able to smell a rotting carcass, and that draws them to their meal.  Scientists believe that king vultures don’t have a good sense of smell—so instead of following their nose, they follow their eyes and watch where other vultures gather.  They have one of the most powerful beaks of all American vultures and can open a carcass that other vultures cannot.  For this reason, they often eat first and other vultures feed off the remains.  After eating, the vulture will relax in the sun and allow the heat to bake off the bacteria.

King Vulture     King Vulture    King Vulture