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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

Diet and Foraging


King Vultures are scavengers and feed on carcasses of many sizes ranging from dead fish, lizards, sloths, and monkeys, up to cattle. Some have reported that they kill small reptiles, wounded animals, and newborn calves (Ferguson-Lees and Christie 2001, Mendes de Carvalho Filho et al. 2004). King Vulture spent the greatest portion of their scavenging time tearing tendons from bones and tearing off pieces of skin (Houston 1988). Like the other vulture species, they consumed maggots, but because they are not able to pick up small items, they scoop them with the side of the bill, using a sideways swooping of the head (Houston 1988). Feeding on sheep described in detail by Eitniear and Weyer (1984).They have also been documented to feed on palm fruits (Schlee 2005).

Foraging Behavior

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