A sacred bird to the Mayas and popular in South American folklore
This splendid vulture – its wingspan can reach almost 2m – is very recognizable with its beautiful plumage, its bare head with multicoloured skin and its powerful beak with a yellowy-orange wattle on top of it.
In America, its size is exceeded only by that of the condor.
The King Vulture lives in the tropical and equatorial primary forests, on neighbouring plains as well as in marshland areas.
An excellent glider, being able to remain in the air for hours without beating its wings, the King Vulture locates carrion – its virtually exclusive food – not only by sight but also by smell, which is an exceptional ability for a bird.
This is undoubtedly because, as it lives in forests, its sense of smell enables it to locate carcasses that are lying on the ground – not visible – under the cover of the trees.
Sacred bird to the Mayas and popular in South American folklore, its size and its plumage are impressive and have led it to be nicknamed “King”* (or even “Papa”, according to its scientific name!).
You can discover the King Vulture during the birds show.
A less threatened species
- Name: King Vulture
- Latin name: Sarcorhamphus papa
- Origin: Central and South America, except for the Andean Region
- IUCN status: Least concerned
- Cites: Appendix III