Wednesday, April 19, 2017

King Vultures

These are  the black vultures found around  here in Coopville. They perch and sleep in our
 trees at night:

 Vultures are so misunderstood as most people find them repulsive to look at. I don't.  Except for an eagle, there is no bird that can match them in beauty as they soar gracefully through the sky!

I would love to have a few of these flying around! 

The king vulture is one of the larger species of vulture. It can grow to be 32 inches long. Unlike other vultures, which are dark in color, king vultures are creamy white, with darker tail-features. The feathers around their heads and necks are blue, red, orange and yellow. The skin drooping over their beak, called a wattle, is a bright red-orange. Their beak is thick and strong, great for shredding flesh, and their long thick claws are good for keeping a tight grip on their dinner.
These large birds live in the uppermost branches of emergent canopy trees anywhere from Mexico to central Argentina and Trinidad. They perch high up in these trees so that they have a great view of what is going on below them. They have excellent eyesight and rely on it to watch out for other vultures that have spotted carrion. The king vulture's sense of smell is not as good as that of other types of vultures, so they do not always use it to detect food. When it sees that other scavenger birds have discovered a meal, they shoot down from the sky and push the others out of the way. All of the other species vultures are quick to move aside for the "king."
Like other scavengers, the king vulture does not kill its own food. Instead, it feasts on the carcasses and remains of animals that have been killed by some other means (known as carrion).
Though the species is not universally listed as endangered, the populations of king vultures are in decline due to habitat destruction. These royal birds cannot survive if the forests they call home disappear.


  1. I agree CM. Because they are ugly; ignorant and superficial people scorn them. If they didn't clean the carrion, we would be knee deep in maggots, and the other insect back stops. King by name, king by nature.
    The South American Condor is another majestic 'cleaner upper bird.'

    1. I love to watch them in the mornings when they just sit and spread their wings to catch the first bit of sun! One got hit on our road last week - it must have been too young to know about vehicles. It was all gone two days later. Not even a feather was left. :o(

  2. We have turkey vultures where I am in Texas (North of Austin). Since we live on the top of a horseshoe canyon in Hill Country, all of the buzzards that roost down on the flats on the microwave towers come up here to get 'lift', they wheel over the canyon for 20 minutes or so, if the thermals are right, then go in search of breakfast. I love watching them. Once in a while one will come down and perch on our pool fence, if it has been a particularly hard day for them.

    Love 'em. They are, indeed ugly, and boy do they stink!! Get a little too close and you will get a whiff.

    Cap'n Jan

    1. You can watch a live cam of them here, Cap'n Jan: