King Vulture (Sarcoramphus papa)

Order: Cathartiformes | Family: Cathartidae  | IUCN Status: Least Concern

Age: Adult | Sex: Unknown | Loc. Amazonia, Brasil

Age: Adult | Sex: Unknown | Loc. Amazonia, Peru

Age: Juvenile | Sex: Unknown | Loc. Amazonia, Colombia

Age: Adult and Juveniles | Sex: Unknown | Loc. Amazonia, Colombia

Identification & Behavior: ~72.5 cm (28.5 in). The King Vulture is predominantly white with black tail and flight feathers. The head is unfeathered and brightly colored.  Adult and sub-adult birds have pale iris. Chicks fledged the nest in a gray-blackish plumage and go through a slow transformation that may last between 5 to 7 years to attain the adult plumage. The blackish juveniles are much larger than Greater Yellow-headed Vulture, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, and Turkey Vulture.

Status: The King Vulture is uncommon soaring over the lowland Amazonian forest and foothill of the Andes where it is known to range up to near 1000 m. Generally away from human settlements. Rare in the semi-deciduous forest in Northwest Peru where it is largely restricted to the lowlands. It also occurs in Co, Ec, Br, and Bo.

Name in Spanish: Gallinazo Rey.

Sub-species: King Vulture (Sarcoramphus papa) (Linnaeus, 1758).

Meaning of Name: Sarcoramphus: Gr. Sarx= flesh and rhamphos = beak. papa= L. Pope, papa= larger, ruler.  The ruler or largest of flesh-eating birds.

See more of the Family Cathartidae   peru aves

Distribution Map
King VultureVoice:
Generally Silent.

External Links:


    • Species range based on: Schulenberg, T. S., D. F. Stotz, and L. Rico. 2006. Distribution maps of the birds of Peru, version 1.0. Environment, Culture & Conservation (ECCo). The Field Museum. on 11/09/2014.