Hi, I am a King Vulture, and I live in Central and South America, mainly I’m the tropical lowlands forests. Most of you can find me at the zoo. I also am a large bird mostly white in color, and in our ruff, flight and tail feathers are colors that are gray to black . My neck and head are balled, but my skin color there can vary from, red, purple, blue, yellow and orange. We also have this very noticeable yellow fleshy caruncle on our beak. I bet you don’t know what a Caruncle is? It’s my wattle.
We are the third largest of the vultures, but the Andean is the largest. We are carnivores, and we get our food from looking for dead carcasses. We are nice vultures because we have this special beak that can tear animal hides off quickly that we will let smaller vultures eat with us but if the Andean Vulture come too we all fly from them because we are afraid of how big they are compared to us. My wingspan is about 4 to 6 feet long, and my weight is about 8 pounds. From my head to my tail I am about 28 to 32 inches long.
I told you first that you can find me in the tropical areas where there are some forest cover, so I can perch on some trees. Our breeding begins in the dry season and If you are lucky you just might see us in our courtship and hear us making all kinds of sounds. What’s nice, Is our mates are bond to each other for life. We don’t do too much in building our nests, sometimes we just scrape out the ground. Even some of my relatives will form a nest in tree crevice, or a log hollow. Our eggs are creamy white and when hatched and our parents will take turns incubating them for many weeks. If something does go wrong with our eggs another egg can be deposited soon.
When are cute chicks are hatched, they are covered in down and their eyes are wide open. The parents will feed the chicks by regurgitating food. The chick will learn to fly about the age of three months, and about 12 months or longer to get their plumage. We can only give two sounds out because we do not have a voice box, and we do live in small groups. You can see us perched on trees or looking for food. We are very observant of our surroundings because there are snakes and other creatures that live to eat our babies or eggs. One thing I will say before I go to feed my chicks, is that we have an important role in the ecosystem by cleaning up all the dead animals for you. See you one of these days …flying or just at the zoo.
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