The King Vulture is a really magnificent bird. The other three species are black in general, with different color of head and neck. The Black Vulture is commonly seen soaring around the country, but the King Vulture is not seen that often. However, when you see it, you are amazed. The juvenile is mostly black, with white underparts, while the adult is mostly white, with black wing secondaries and orange to red neck. Both have white irises, which contrasts nicely with the head colors.
It is not every day that you can see a Vulture turning into a King! This immature individual still retains black feathers from its juvenile plumage on the wings and back, however it looks as an adult for the most part.
It is said that to achieve compelling images of wildlife, one needs to take pictures at eye-level. The way the hide at Mirador El Pizote is positioned makes possible such images.
It is exciting to have the King Vulture so close, sometimes looking directly at your eyes (or your lens for that matter).
An adult also made its appearance and stood on the branch for a few minutes, all while the Black Vultures where busy eating from the carcass on the ground.
Another shot of the King at the branch, this time in horizontal framing. Its feathers look all fluffy from the wind that helped cool the ambient a bit.
A shot from the hide at Mirador El Pizote shows the King Vulture calmly walking through the grass.
Another shot from the hide at Mirador El Pizote, here most of the body is hidden from view due to the low angle.
The King Vulture sharing a carcass with one Black Vulture, surrounded by the green vegetation of the forest.
A fast action shot where the King Vulture had just taken off the branch in which it was perched seconds before.
The King posing proudly on top of a branch. It was already full after at least two hours of feasting on a carcass.
I call this picture “The King Vulture Ballet”. I leave it to the masters of the discipline to say if the posture is right, but to me it still looks graceful.
The King just made its flashy appearance. Its attire is elegant, even gorgeous.
A balancing act on a tree trunk, although vultures are very skilled at it.
This adult spread its wings slightly when changing position at the tree.
The body is essentially black and white, yet the head is very colorful.
The maw protrudes from the chest’s feathers and is very conspicuous.
The maw is concealed most of the time, but I am supposing that during hot days it helps to cool off by having it outside of the feathers.
The gaze of this magnificent bird is very determined.
Close up portrait of the head and neck.
The maw is a zone in the chest of the bird that also lacks feathers, where the skin is pink.
A close up portrait reveals the skin that folds around much of the face, neck and even covers the nostrils.
As a scavenger, this vulture normally gets its meals from dead animals found anywhere.
Juvenile and adult stand together in the sun. They really look magnificent.
The poise of this juvenile while walking is incredible.