from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun A large American vulture of the family Cathartidæ, the Sarcorhamphus papa: so called because the smaller vultures, as turkey-buzzards and carrion-crows, are often driven from their repasts by this more powerful bird of prey.


Sorry, no etymologies found.


Help support Wordnik (and make this page ad-free) by adopting the word king-vulture.


  • "Because I am a king-vulture, and I wait for the sick bull to die," he answered, pointing to the Great Place beneath him.

    The Wizard Henry Rider Haggard 1890

  • Tim received a hearty welcome; Candela clapped his hands as he saw the venison; and the doctor was highly pleased to have the king-vulture to examine.

    The Young Llanero A Story of War and Wild Life in Venezuela William Henry Giles Kingston 1847

  • We found, indeed, not far off, the remains of a deer on which he had been feeding, several armadillos and a king-vulture being engaged in finishing what he had left of the feast.

    The Wanderers Adventures in the Wilds of Trinidad and Orinoco William Henry Giles Kingston 1847

  • "Very good shot, Baas," it piped up, "as good as that which killed the king-vulture at Dingaan's kraal, and more difficult.

    Allan and the Holy Flower Henry Rider Haggard 1890


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.