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King Vulture: The Greatest Scavenger printer.gif

King Vultures are incredible scavengers. Their amazing sense of sight and smell allows them to find their food from high in the sky. However, the King Vulture will also rely on other vultures to find its food for it.

A King Vulture generally locates other vultures feeding on an animal carcass. Once the King Vulture lands, the other birds make way for it. With a wingspan of 4 to 5 feet, and weighing 6-10 lbs (quite heavy for a bird), the King Vulture is truly a king among scavengers.

Vultures eat carrion, or dead, decaying flesh. This may seem pretty gross, but vultures play an important role in the ecosystems they live in. Vultures basically take care of dead and decomposing animal remains. By eating animals that are already dead, vultures help to prevent the spread of disease to other animals.

Vultures are not considered predators, because they don't hunt for their food. Vultures rely on natural causes of death to provide them with a meal. Vultures rarely attack living animals, and then only when the animal is disabled or dying of disease or injury.

While we are on the trail, we'll often see groups of other species of vultures circling overhead. However, the King Vulture typically prefers a solitary existence. They glide effortlessly with their eyes and noses pointed toward the ground in search of their next meal.

For further exploration, check out the following web sites.

Wilderness Classroom's Rainforest Library: King Vulture

National Geographic's Animal Facts and Photos

The Belize Zoo's Animal Fact Page: King Vulture

The Honolulu Zoo: King Vulture

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