Saturday, August 27, 2011

King vulture Birds King vulture beautifull birgs

King Vulture, Sarcoramphus papa, is a large bird found in Central and South America. It is a member of the New World vulture family Cathartidae. This vulture lives predominantly in tropical lowland forests stretching from southern Mexico to northern Argentina, though some believe that William Bartram's Painted Vulture of Florida may be of this species. King Vulture is the largest of the New World vultures. Its overall length ranges from 67–81 centimeters (27–32 in) and its wingspan is 1.2–2 meters (4–6.6 ft). Its weight ranges from 2.7–4.5 kilograms (6–10 lb). An imposing bird, the adult King Vulture has predominantly white plumage, which has a slight rose-yellow tinge to it. In stark 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.

King Vulture has gray to black ruff, flight, and tail feathers. The head and neck are bald, with the skin color varying, including yellow, orange, blue, purple, and red. The King Vulture has a very noticeable yellow fleshy caruncle on its beak. This vulture is a scavenger and it often makes the initial cut into a fresh carcass. behavior is typical of caracaras, but the larger and shorter-legged King Vultures are not well adapted for walking. This bird was believed to be common and conspicuous in Bartram's days, but it is notably absent from Bartram's notes if the Painted Vulture is accepted as a Sarcoramphus.
The vulture’s head and neck are featherless as an adaptation for hygiene, though there are black bristles on parts of the head; this lack of feathers prevents bacteria from the carrion it eats from ruining its feathers and exposes the skin to the sterilizing effects of the sun. In South America, it does not live west of the Andes except in western Ecuador north-western Colombia and far north-western Venezuela. It primarily inhabits undisturbed tropical lowland forests as well as savannas and grasslands with these forests nearby. It is often seen near swamps or marshy places in the forests. This bird is often the most numerous or only vulture present in primary lowland forests in its range, but in the Amazon rainforest it is typically outnumbered by the Greater Yellow-headed Vulture, while typically outnumbered by the Lesser Yellow-headed, Turkey and American Black Vulture in more open habitats. King Vultures generally do not live above 1500 m (5000 ft), although are found in places at 2500 m (8000 ft) altitude east of the Andes, and have been rarely recorded up to 3300 m (10000 ft) They inhabit the emergent forest level, or above the canopy.

King Vulture soars for hours effortlessly, only flapping its wings infrequently. While in flight, its wings are held flat with slightly raised tips, and from a distance the vulture can appear to be headless while in flight. Its wing beats are deep and strong. Birds have been observed engaging in tandem flight or two occasions in Venezuela by naturalist Marsha Schlee, who has proposed it could be a part of courtship behaviour.
Groups of up to 12 birds have been observed bathing and drinking in a pool above a waterfall in Belize. One or two birds generally descend to feed at a carcass, although occasionally up to ten or so may gather if there is significant amount of food. King Vultures have lived up to 30 years in captivity, though their lifespan in the wild is unknown. This vulture uses urohidrosis, defecating on its legs, to lower its body temperature.

King Vulture eats anything from cattle carcasses to beached fish and dead lizards. In forests, it is likely to eat sloth. Principally a carrion eater, there are isolated reports of it eating injured animals, newborn calves and small lizards.
Although it locates food by vision, the role smell has in how it specifically finds carrion has been debated. Consensus has been that it does not detect odours, and instead follows the smaller Turkey and Greater Yellow-headed Vultures, which do have a sense of smell, to a carcass but a 1991 study demonstrated that the King Vulture could find carrion in the forest without the aid of other vultures, suggesting that it locates food using an olfactory sense. The King Vulture primarily eats carrion found in the forest, though it is known to venture onto nearby savannas in search of food. Once it has found a carcass, the King Vulture displaces the other vultures because of its large size and strong bill. However, when it is at the same kill as the larger Andean Condor, the King Vulture always defers to it. Using its bill to tear, it makes the initial cut in a fresh carcass. This allows the smaller, weaker-beaked vultures, which can not open the hide of a carcass, access to the carcass after the King Vulture has fed.

the King Vulture in the wild is poorly known, and much knowledge has been gained from observing birds in captivity particularly at the Paris Menagerie. An adult King Vulture sexually matures when it is about four or five years old, with females maturing slightly earlier than males. The birds mainly breed during the dry season. King Vultures mate for life and generally lay a single unmarked white egg in its nest in a hollow in a tree. To ward off potential predators, the vultures keep their nests foul-smelling. Both parents incubate the egg for the 52 to 58 days before it hatches. If the egg is lost, it will often be replaced after about six weeks. The parents share incubating and brooding duties until the chick is about a week old, after which they often stand guard rather than brood. The young are semi-altricial—they are helpless when born but are covered downy feathers (truly altricial birds are born naked), and their eyes are open at birth. Developing quickly, the chicks are fully alert by their second day, and able to beg and wriggle around the nest, and preen themselves and peck by their third day.

King Vulture is one of the most common species of birds represented in the Mayan codices. Its glyph is easily distinguishable by the knob on the bird’s beak and by the concentric circles that make up the bird’s eyes. Sometimes the bird is portrayed as a god with a human body and a bird head. According to Mayan mythology, this god often carried messages between humans and the other gods. It is also used to represent Cozcaquauhtli, the thirteenth day of the month in the Mayan calendar 13 Reed.

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