|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|King Vulture (Scientific name: 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, 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, although fossil members are known.|
Large and predominantly white, the King Vulture has gray to black ruff, flight, and tail feathers. The 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 caruncle on its beak. 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. 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. Although currently listed as Least Concern by the IUCN, they are decreasing in number, due primarily to habitat loss.
Excluding the two species of condors, the King Vulture is the largest of the New World vultures. Its overall length ranges from 6781 centimeters (2732 in) and its wingspan is 1.22 meters (46.6 ft). Its weight ranges from 2.74.5 kilograms (610 lb). An imposing bird, the adult King Vulture has predominantly white plumage, which has a slight rose-yellow tinge to it. In stark contrast, the wing coverts, flight feathers and tail are dark grey to black, as is the prominent thick neck ruff. The head and neck are devoid of feathers, the skin shades of red and purple on the head, vivid orange on the neck and yellow on the throat. On the head, the skin is wrinkled and folded, and there is a highly noticeable irregular golden crest attached on the cere above its orange and black bill; this caruncle does not fully form until the birds fourth year.
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