LC
King Vulture Sarcoramphus papa



Taxonomy

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.
SACC. 2005 and updates. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #http://www.museum.lsu.edu/~Remsen/SACCBaseline.htm#.

IUCN Red List criteria met and history
Red List criteria met
Critically Endangered Endangered Vulnerable
- - -

Red List history
Year Category Criteria
2023 Least Concern
2016 Least Concern
2012 Least Concern
2009 Least Concern
2008 Least Concern
2004 Least Concern
2000 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1994 Lower Risk/Least Concern
1988 Lower Risk/Least Concern
Species attributes

Migratory status not a migrant Forest dependency high
Land-mass type Average mass 3,400 g
Range

Estimate Data quality
Extent of Occurrence (breeding/resident) 22,600,000 km2 medium
Severely fragmented? no -
Population
Estimate Data quality Derivation Year of estimate
Population size unknown - - -
Population trend decreasing - inferred -
Generation length 11.57 years - - -

Population justification: The population size has not been quantified, but the species is generally infrequently observed, described as rare and mostly seen in small numbers (Reid 1989, del Hoyo et al. 1994, Haenn et al. 2014, Holste et al. 2020, J. Barrio in litt. 2023).

Trend justification: There is no data on the population trend (Santangeli et al. 2022). However, local declines have been reported in parts of the range, including in Mexico, Honduras, Colombia, northern Ecuador and Paraguay (R. Clay in litt. 2023, P. Monar in litt. 2023, J. F. Restrepo Mesa in litt. 2023, C. Ruiz-Guerra in litt. 2023, J. Van Dort in litt. 2023). The drivers of the decline are somewhat unclear, but loss and degradation of habitat are likely contributing factors (per Holste et al. 2020). The population trend however appears to vary, as the species is reported to be stable in Brazil and Bolivia (B. Hennessey in litt. 2023, E. R. Luiz in litt. 2023, B. Phalan in litt. 2023, R. Subir√° in litt. 2023).
Considering that the majority of the global population is found in Brazil (per Fink et al. 2022, Monroy-Ojeda 2022) it is likely that the declines detected in the periphery of the range are to a certain extent balanced out by the presumed stability in its core. Nevertheless, as there is strong evidence that population reductions are taking place in parts of the range, it is assumed that the overall population is undergoing a slow decline.


Country/territory distribution
Country/Territory Presence Origin Resident Breeding visitor Non-breeding visitor Passage migrant
Argentina extant native yes
Belize extant native yes
Bolivia extant native yes
Brazil extant native yes
Colombia extant native yes
Costa Rica extant native yes
Ecuador extant native yes
El Salvador extant native yes
French Guiana extant native yes
Guatemala extant native yes
Guyana extant native yes
Honduras extant native yes
Mexico extant native yes
Nicaragua extant native yes
Panama extant native yes
Paraguay extant native yes
Peru extant native yes
Suriname extant native yes
Trinidad and Tobago extant native yes
Venezuela extant native yes

Important Bird and Biodiversity Areas (IBA)
Country/Territory IBA Name

Habitats & altitude
Habitat (level 1) Habitat (level 2) Importance Occurrence
Artificial/Terrestrial Pastureland suitable resident
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Dry major resident
Forest Subtropical/Tropical Moist Lowland major resident
Grassland Subtropical/Tropical Dry suitable resident
Grassland Subtropical/Tropical Seasonally Wet/Flooded suitable resident
Savanna Dry suitable resident
Altitude 0 - 3180 m Occasional altitudinal limits  

Threats & impact
Threat (level 1) Threat (level 2) Impact and Stresses
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Agro-industry farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Agriculture & aquaculture Annual & perennial non-timber crops - Small-holder farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Agriculture & aquaculture Livestock farming & ranching - Agro-industry grazing, ranching or farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Agriculture & aquaculture Livestock farming & ranching - Small-holder grazing, ranching or farming Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Biological resource use Hunting & trapping terrestrial animals - Intentional use (species is the target) Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Causing/Could cause fluctuations Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Species mortality
Biological resource use Logging & wood harvesting - Unintentional effects: (large scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion
Biological resource use Logging & wood harvesting - Unintentional effects: (subsistence/small scale) [harvest] Timing Scope Severity Impact
Ongoing Minority (<50%) Slow, Significant Declines Low Impact: 5
Stresses
Indirect ecosystem effects, Ecosystem degradation, Ecosystem conversion

Utilisation
Purpose Primary form used Life stage used Source Scale Level Timing
Sport hunting/specimen collecting - - non-trivial recent

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Species factsheet: Sarcoramphus papa. Downloaded from https://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/king-vulture-sarcoramphus-papa on 02/03/2024.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2024) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from https://datazone.birdlife.org on 02/03/2024.