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Flashcards in King Vulture Deck (57):
1

What is the range and habitat of the king vulture?

Lowland tropical forests in Central and South America

2

Is the king vulture the only surviving member of its genus?

Yes.

3

Are there fossil records of ancestors to the king vulture?

Yes.

4

What critically endangered Asian species was once called the king vulture?

The red-headed vulture.

5

What is the purpose of a wattle?

Large or colorful wattles indicate high levels of testosterone, so they are used to court mates.

6

What is a caruncle?

Any fleshy piece that hangs off an animal's face like a dewlap or wattle.

7

True or false? The king vulture's beak is weak, so it waits for other vultures to make the incisions in a carcass before eating.

False. The hooked beak of the king vulture often makes the initial incisions into a carcass.

8

True or false? Smaller new world vultures will often flee if they see a king vulture coming and wait until the king vulture is done eating to begin eating themselves.

True.

9

What is the maximum age of a king vulture?

30 years.

10

New world vultures and old world vultures are not closely related. What has caused them to develop similar traits?

Convergent evolution.

11

What is one characteristic that new world vultures have that old world vultures don't?

New world vultures have a very good sense of smell, whereas old world vultures do not. Old world vultures rely on sight to find prey.

12

What family do the old world vultures belong to?

Accipitridae (Eagles, hawks, harriers, etc.)

13

What is a cosmopolitan distribution?

It is when a species or group is found in most of the world.

14

What is the conservation status of the king vulture?

Least concern.

15

True or false? Though the king vulture is listed as least concern, they are being closely monitored because of population drops.

True.

16

What is the main threat to the king vulture?

Habitat loss.

17

What year was the king vulture discovered?

1758

18

What is the closest living relative of the king vulture?

The Andean condor.

19

What did the Mayans believe the king vulture did?

It was a king that served as a messenger between humans and the gods.

20

What did the Aztecs call the king vulture?

Collared bird of prey.

21

What do some modern scientists suggest new world vultures may be related to?

Storks.

22

How long ago did the Kern vulture (the closest relative of the king vulture) live in North America?

3 million years ago

23

What is the name of the explorer who traveled to Florida and described a "painted vulture"?

William Bartram

24

What was significant about William Bartram's "painted vulture"?

It matched the description of a king vulture almost perfectly, but they have never been known to be in Florida.

25

What has caused some doubts as to the validity of the account of the "painted vulture"?

The vulture was described doing activities that vultures are not suited for, such as running. Reviewing his notes also shows that he changed them several times.

26

What is the main bird people theorize could be the "painted vulture"?

The crested caracara. They believe he may have observed the caracara, then heard of the king vulture and simply remembered the caracara wrong.

27

What is a current explanation for the existence of the "painted vulture"?

Some believe it was a subspecies of the king vulture that died out during a cold snap.

28

What is the main difference between the description of the "painted vulture" and the king vulture?

The painted vulture was described as having a white tail, the king vulture has a black tail.

29

What is the length of the king vulture?

3ft

30

What is the wingspan of the king vulture?

6.5 feet.

31

What s the weight of the king vulture?

10lbs

32

How old are king vultures when they get their caruncle?

4 years old

33

What new world vulture has the strongest bill?

The king vulture.

34

How old are king vultures when they reach adult plumage (and maturity)?

Five.

35

Can king vultures survive in high mountain areas?

Yes.

36

True or false, king vultures have been observed soaring for hours without flapping.

True.

37

The king vulture has been observed engaging in tandem flight. What is one explanation of why they do this?

Courtship behavior.

38

Are king vultures solitary?

Usually, but small groups can form to eat or bathe.

39

Do king vultures force other birds away from a carcass?

No, they are relatively unaggressive to other birds. The birds back away voluntarily.

40

Why might other birds back away from the king vulture at a kill?

Not only is it often the largest bird at the kill, it also has the strongest bill and can open it for other birds.

41

What sounds does the king vulture make?

Croaking, wheezing, and bill snapping.

42

What are the only two predators of a king vulture?

Snakes and jaguars.

43

What do king vultures eat?

Carrion, but there are also rare reports of it killing dying or very small animals.

44

What are the two theories as to how the king vulture finds food?

They smell food, or they follow smaller vultures to food.

45

How does a king vulture easily pick the meat off the bones of a dead animal?

Their tongue is very rough like a nail file.

46

True or false? The king vulture has occasionally been observed eating fallen fruit.

True.

47

Where do king vultures make their nest?

In a tree hollow.

48

How many eggs do king vultures lay?

One.

49

How do king vultures keep predators away from their nest?

They make it smell foul.

50

What does altrical mean?

It means the young are incapable of moving on their own.

51

How many months does it take for young king vultures to be able to fly?

Three months.

52

True or false? Male king vultures do not participate in incubation.

False.

53

How long is incubation for a king vulture?

50 days

54

Why are the populations of king vultures difficult to monitor?

They sit in high trees and are surprisingly inconspicuous.

55

What everyday object do king vultures appear on in many Central American countries?

Stamps.

56

What day of the month in the Mayan calendar does the king vulture represent?

The thirteenth.

57

What parts of the king vulture did the Mayans believe could cure diseases?

The blood and feathers.