King Vulture (species: Sarcoramphus papa) in Birds of Argentina (Gaia Guide)
Sarcoramphus papa
King Vulture

©Eric Kilby

©patries71: King Vulture (Sarcoramphus papa)

©barloventomagico: King Vulture (Sarcoramphus papa)
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Aves
Order Cathartiformes
Family Cathartidae
Genus Sarcoramphus
Species Sarcoramphus papa



Distinguishing features

It is the largest of the New World vultures. Adults have predominantly white plumage, which has a slight rose-yellow tinge to it. In contrast, the wing coverts, flight feathers and tail are dark grey to black, as is the prominent thick neck ruff. The head and neck are devoid of feathers, the skin shades of red and purple on the head, vivid orange on the neck and yellow on the throat. On the head, the skin is wrinkled and folded, and there is a highly noticeable irregular golden crest attached on the cere above its orange and black bill; this caruncle does not fully form until the bird’s fourth year.

It is minimally sexually dimorphic, with no difference in plumage and little in size between males and females. The juvenile vulture has a dark bill and eyes, and a downy, gray neck that soon begins to turn the orange of an adult. Younger vultures are a slate gray overall, and, while they look similar to the adult by the third year, they do not completely molt into adult plumage until they are around five or six years of age. (Wikipedia)


  • From 67 cm to 81 cm (Length of specimen) - applies to Adults


  • From 120 cm to 200 cm - applies to Adults



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