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King vulture (Sarcoramphus papa)

The king vulture is a large bird found in Central and South America. It is a member of the New World vulture family Cathartidae. This vulture lives predominantly in tropical lowland forests stretching from southern Mexico to northern Argentina. Its overall length ranges from 67–81 cm and its wingspan is 1,2–2 m.This vulture is a scavenger and it often makes the initial cut into a fresh carcass. It also displaces smaller New World vulture species from a carcass. The king vulture eats anything from cattle carcasses to beached fish and dead lizards. Principally a carrion eater, there are isolated reports of it killing and eating injured animals, newborn calves and small lizards. King vultures have been known to live for up to 30 years in captivity. It is non-migratory and it generally lives alone or in small family groups.

photo credits: Eric Kilby, Olaf Oliviero Riemer, jon hanson, at-web, sandiegozoo