Besides having a stinky nest, the king vulture practices urohydrosis—it defecates on its legs to lower its body temperature. Besides these more gross facts, the king vulture is a fascinating bird. It is moderately intelligent, being able to figure out puzzles and can be trained. Our male king vulture, Sid, is trained to step on a scale to be weighed.
Habitat: Central and South America
Diet in the wild: Scavenger-eats carrion
Diet at Caldwell Zoo: Turkey necks, rats, bird of prey diet
Size: 30 inches; 8 pounds
Family: Monogamous; mates for life
Status: Least concern, but population decreasing
Did you know? The king vulture makes a nest in a hollow tree. That nest smells really bad to help keep predators away.