Some birds have fleshy growths hanging or protruding from the head or the neck. When these are a normal part of their anatomy, they are called caruncles. Caruncles are often made of bare skin, though some may have a sparse covering... Read more »
The King Vulture is a large species of New World vulture that lives across a variety of habitats through much of South America and parts of Central America. They are the largest vultures found in the new world, not including the two condor species (California and Andean).
The King Vulture is a scavenger, dining on deceased animals including beached fish, livestock carcasses, and dead wild animals, including sloths!
The King Vulture has a very unique look. The body plumage is contrasting buffy-white and black. The skin on the head is wrinkly, with a mixture of reddish-purple and black tones contrasting with the yellow and orange neck. The tip of the black bill is a deep red, with a yellow-orange, oddly-crested cere.
Details & Statistics
The King Vulture is listed as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List and was last assessed in 2012 by BirdLife International. This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be small, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.