King Vultures

Photo of King Vultures

King Vulture


The King Vulture (Sarcoramphus papa) is a large, striking bird with vibrant multicolored plumage and a distinctive fleshy caruncle on its head. Native to various habitats in Belize, including forests and open areas.

Interesting Facts

  • Scientific Name: Sarcoramphus papa
  • Habitat: Inhabits diverse environments in Belize, showcasing adaptability to different landscapes.
  • Diet: Scavengers, feeding on carrion; contribute to ecosystem health by aiding in the decomposition process.
  • Behavior: Often seen soaring high in the sky; their unique appearance and scavenging behavior play a vital role in Belize’s ecological balance.

Fun Facts

  • Vultures in the Neotropics can stay cool using a unique (and gross) technique called urohidrosis; they pee and poop down their legs to keep cool!
  • The bright fold of skin on their face is called a caruncle. Scientists are still trying to figure out its function
  • Unlike most raptors, male and female king vultures are roughly the same size
  • King vultures take up to 6 years to fully mature. Young king vultures are all black, and slowly gain their adult white feathers over time.

Belize Zoo Trivia

At the Zoo, our Royal Family consists of Rex, Sally, Perfecto, Milagro, and Max Rex is the oldest animal at Zoo; he is 40 years old!

Want to Adopt Me?

Learn more about adopting an animal here: How To Adopt An Animal


Scarlet Macaws