The King Vulture
The King Vulture, is a large Central and South American bird in the New World vulture family Cathartidae. This vulture lives predominantly in tropical lowland forests stretching from southern Mexico to northern Argentina.
The adult King Vulture is the most strikingly colored of the New World Vultures.
King Vultures have lived up to 30 years in captivity, though their lifespan in the wild is unknown.
This vulture uses urohydrosis, defecating on its legs, in order to lower its body temperature. Despite its bill and large size, it is relatively unaggressive at a kill and will normally back down rather than fight.The King Vulture lacks a voice box, though it can make low croaking noises and wheezing sounds.Its only natural predators are snakes, which will prey upon the vulture’s eggs and young, and large cats such as jaguars, which may surprise and kill an adult vulture at a carcass.
The King Vulture feeds solely on carrion and, unlike some New World Vultures, is not known to kill sick or dying animals for food.It often eats stranded fish along river banks, but does not come to village refuse dumps for food.Though it has keen eyesight which can help it locate food.
There is evidence that suggests a decline in population, though it is not significant enough to cause it to be listed.This decline is due primarily to habitat destruction and poaching.