Like other vultures, the king vulture is a scavenger. These large birds glide on air currents, conserving energy while searching the forests or savanna below for the corpses of dead animals. Because of their unappetizing eating habits, they fill an ecological niche, and may help to prevent the spread of disease by disposing of rotting remains.
King vultures have a very colorful look that distinguishes them from their vulture relatives. They are predominately white, with black tails and wing tips. They have piercing, often straw-colored eyes and multicolored (yellow, orange, and red) heads and necks.
Though brightly colored, the vulture's head and neck are bald. This may help the fastidious birds to stay clean, and ensure that bacteria-laden animal remains don't fester