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King vulture (Sarcorhamphus papa)

King vulture
King vulture

Personal Information
The Zoo is home to one female king vulture, Gertrude, born in 1966. She has resided at the Zoo since 1968! Gertrude sports majestic white and black plumage with an orange-and-black head covered by skin without feathers.

Status in the Wild
International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status: Least concern. There are an estimated 1,000 to 10,000 king vultures in its specified range.

Habitat
The range of the king vulture encompasses a large area, from Central Mexico through northern Argentina, and are found in tropical rainforests and open country.

Diet
King vultures are carrion feeders, they don’t kill other animals as a rule.

  • The king vulture circles in the air, above a carcass, to make sure the situation is safe (free from predators) before it decides to land and put themselves in a vulnerable position.
  • There are 23 species – 7 New World Vultures and 16 Old World Vultures.
  • The king vulture is not the natural prey of any animal.
  • A female king vulture lays 1 or 2 eggs at a time, usually in a hollow tree or rock ledge.