King of the roost
Friday 23 April 2004
A pair of stunning king vultures arrived at London Zoo this week
This pair have travelled all the way from Burgers Zoo, Arnhem to take part in the European studbook breeding programme.
This magnificent bird is undisputedly 'The King of Vultures', being one of the largest and most strikingly coloured of the four species of vulture native to South America.
Because of their striking appearance king vultures have even been described as looking like 'Blackpool Landladies', with their bright 'made up' faces! The birds have a yellow fleshy wattle on the bill and the bare skin of the head is bright yellow and red.
King vultures have likened to Blackpool Landladies!
The overall body plumage is black and grey with a rose-yellow tinge. The extremely thick and strong bill is well adapted for tearing, and the long, thick claws for holding meat.
The King vulture is a bird of prey. In the wild, the king vulture feeds on carrion, which it is thought to locate with its exceptional sense of smell; unusual for birds who usually rely on their accurate eyesight to locate their next feed.