Scientific Name: Sarcorhamphus papa
The King Vulture is truely the king of all vultures. The King Vulture the largest of all the vultures. Vultures can be found in all areas of the world and are some of the best scavengers in the animal kingdom.
King Vultures can be found throughout Latin America from Southern Mexico to Southern Argentina. It prefers the lush, tropical lowlands.
King Vultures have an incredible sense of sight and smell. This allows them to find their food from high in the sky. They will often locate food by the presence of the other vulture species. Once the King Vulture lands, though, the other birds make way for it.
Vultures eat carrion, or dead, decaying flesh. Vultures are not considered predators, because they don’t hunt for their food, but 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.
The King Vulture’s extremely thick and strong bill is well adapted for tearing, and the long, thick claws for holding the meat.
Vultures serve a useful purpose in disposing of dead and decaying animal remains, as well as in cleaning up in areas of poor or non-existent sanitation. This, however, does not make them popular with people.
The vulture’s head is bald so that it is easily cleaned when devouring prey.
Their feet are designed for perching, and are not adapted to seizing and killing or holding prey, as are those of the Eagles, Hawks, and Owls. Their bills are smaller, compared to other birds of prey, which make them able to penetrate the carcasses of large animals.