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Version 1.0

This is a historic version of this account.  Current version


King Vulture Sarcoramphus papa

Melissa Holste, Janet M. Ruth, and Jack C. Eitniear
Version: 1.0 — Published December 19, 2014


King Vulture has an extremely large geographic range; consequently, even though the population may be in decline, the IUCN Red List status of King Vulture is evaluated as Least Concern (BirdLife International 2014). King Vulture is considered Endangered, however, under Mexican law (Eitniear 2000, NOM-059 SEMARNAT 2010). It is also a species of high concern to Partners in Flight (Berlanga et al. 2010). Based on determinations of habitat loss, Berlanga et al. (2010) estimated that 50% or more of its population has been lost in Mexico during the last century. An educational poster, feeding station and popularity of the species at waterfalls in Belize has aided in its survival Eitniear 1986, 1993). Habitat loss is the single greatest limiting factor (Eitniear 1989).

Effects of human activity on populations

King Vulture is dependent on threatened tropical evergreen forest habitats. The primary threats to this species are logging of mature forest and habitat conversion for agriculture and livestock production. In addition to threats of habitat loss, this species is threatened by shooting. In addition to threats of habitat loss, this species is threatened by poaching (Bellinger 1997), trophy hunting, and lead poisoning (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001).

It has been suggested that conservation efforts at the local level incorporate residents of the area as they often have unique knowledge of the species (Haenn et al. 2014).

The King Vulture is listed as Appendix III (Honduras).

Recommended Citation

Holste, M., J. M. Ruth, and J. C. Eitniear (2014). King Vulture (Sarcoramphus papa), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.kinvul1.01