10×14 watercolor enhanced colored pencil on Arches Hot Press watercolor paper (it’s smooth texture allows for better detail work). Original unavailable and in a private collection.
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The King Vulture, (Sarcoramphus papa), is the most strikingly colored bird in the New World vulture family Cathartidae. This vulture lives predominantly in tropical lowland forests stretching from southern Mexico to northern Argentina, though some believe that William Bartram’s Painted Vulture of Florida may be of this species. It is the only surviving member of the genus Sarcoramphus, though fossil members are known.
It is a large, predominantly white vulture with gray to black ruff, flight, and tail feathers. Its head and neck are bald, with the skin color varying, including yellow, orange, blue, purple, and red. The King Vulture has a very noticeable yellow fleshy carnucle on its beak. This vulture is a scavenger and it often makes the initial cut into a fresh carcass. It also displaces the smaller New World Vulture species from a carcass. King Vultures have been known to live for up to 30 years in captivity.
King Vultures were popular figures in the Mayan codices as well as in local folklore and medicine. Though currently listed as Least Concern by the IUCN, they are declining in number, due primarily to habitat loss. (info from Wikipedia)