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Aves - Neognathae - Incertae sedis - Cathartidae - Sarcoramphus - Sarcoramphus papa

Sternum (Breast Bone) of a Sarcoramphus papa (King Vulture)


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Species Description
The King Vulture is, apart from the condors, the largest of the New World vultures. The only surviving member of its genus, it lives predominantly in the tropical lowland forests of southern Mexico down to northern Argentina. The King Vulture subsists solely on carrion, and is not known to kill sick or dying animals; it also plays an important role in the hierarchy of scavengers, often making the first cut into a carcass (cutting through tough hides that smaller scavengers cannot penetrate). While the King Vulture has excellent eyesight, it also has a keen sense of smell, which it uses to detect food. It also possesses a rasp-like tongue, which aids in removing flesh from bone. The King Vulture is an expect glider, and can soar for hours without flapping its wings. Like most scavenging birds, it lacks feathers on its head and neck, but it distinguishable by the brightly colored skin, as well as by the fleshy yellow carbuncle on the beak.
Skeletal Elements Available

Sternum (Breast Bone)
External Links
Animal Diversity Web
Encyclopedia of Life
Wikipedia King Vulture Page

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