King Vulture

(Sarcorhamphus papa)


Animal Info

The Zoo is home to two female king vultures, Gertrude and Natasha. Gertrude was born in 1966 and has resided at the Zoo since 1968! Gertrude sports majestic white and black plumage with an orange-and-black head covered by skin without feathers. Natasha arrived in May 2014 and was born in 1977.

Status in the Wild

International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List status: Least concern. There are an estimated 1,000 to 10,000 king vultures in its specified range.


The range of the king vulture encompasses a large area, from Central Mexico through northern Argentina, and are found in tropical rainforests and open country.


King vultures are principally carrion feeders, meaning they do not kill other animals but feed on those that are already dead.

Did you know?

The king vulture circles in the air, above a carcass, to make sure the situation is safe and free from predators before it decides to land and put itself in a vulnerable position.

There are 23 species of vultures: 7 New World Vultures and 16 Old World Vultures.

The king vulture is not the natural prey of any animal.

A female king vulture lays one or two eggs at a time, usually in a hollow tree or rock ledge.

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