The King Vulture is the largest of New World Vultures (other than condors). The average King Vulture measures 32 inches in length and has a wingspan of six and a half feet. The adult is unmistakable with a multi-colored, featherless head, bright orange or pink neck, and conspicuous white eyes. There is a fleshy, yellow wattle that hangs from the base of the bill. The base of the neck has a “ruff” of grayish feathers. The massive body is white or off-white with black wing tips. Females and males are similar.



The King Vulture feeds on carrion. Most scientists believe that King Vultures do not rely on their sense of smell to locate carrion, but rather, follow other vultures. King Vultures are dominant over other vultures at carcasses and often begin the process of tearing the carcass apart so that other vultures can feed.


The King Vulture is found in southern Mexico, Central America, and South America (south to northern Argentina). They are generally found high up in the trees in mature, tropical woodlands.


The reproductive life of the King Vultures has rarely been seen in the wild. The female lays one egg in a tree crevice or stump. Both parents incubate the egg. The parents feed the young vulture by regurgitating food from their crops.


The King Vulture is common but declining in numbers.
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