Greater yellow-headed vulture

Greater yellow-headed vulture

Cathartes melambrotus

The greater yellow-headed vulture, also known as the forest vulture, is a species of bird in the New World vulture family Cathartidae. It was considered to be the same species as the lesser yellow-headed vulture until they were split in 1964. It is found in South America in tropical moist lowland forests. It is a fairly large bird, with a wingspan of 166–178 cm, a weight of 1.65 kilograms and a body length of 64–75 cm . The body plumage is black, and the head and neck, which are featherless, range in color from deep yellow to pale orange. It lacks a syrinx, and its vocalizations are therefore limited to grunts or low hisses. The greater yellow-headed vulture feeds on carrion and locates carcasses by sight and by smell, an ability which is rare in birds. It is dependent on larger vultures, such as the king vulture, to open the hides of larger animal carcasses, as its bill is not strong enough to do this. Like other New World vultures, the greater yellow-headed vulture utilizes thermals to stay aloft with minimal effort. It lays its eggs on flat surfaces, such as the floors of caves, or in the hollows of stumps. It feeds its young by regurgitation.

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Habits and Lifestyle

Seasonal behavior

Diet and Nutrition


1. Greater yellow-headed vulture Wikipedia article -
2. Greater yellow-headed vulture on The IUCN Red List site -

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