Andean Condor

Andean Condor

Vultur gryphus

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Quick Facts
Height: Average 38"
Weight: Males: 24 – 32 lbs; Females: 17 – 24 lbs
Wild diet: Carion, including larger mammalian carrion, beached marine mammals and sea lions
Zoo Diet: Large rats, large mice, various sized rabbits, guinea pigs, and processed meat product
Distribution: Northern south America, Chile and Argentina
Habitat: Mountains, steep cliffs, grasslands and coastal beaches

Andean Condors are the largest flying birds in the Americas. They are able to travel several hundred miles in a day to look for food. Andean condors feed mainly on carrion (dead animal flesh), which they locate by smell. They also have excellent eyesight that they can use to spot a potential prey from great heights. Andean condors can fly and soar over great distances. They use thermals, warm air rising from the earth's surface, to soar. Once airborne, they rarely flaps their wings.

Description

Andean condors are large scavenging birds. Their wingspan averages 9 - 10'. Andean condors are sexually dimorphic (2 distinct gender forms). Males are slightly larger than females, have brown eyes and a caruncle (a fleshy comb) on top of the head. Females have red eyes and no caruncle. The neck, feet, and legs of Andean condors are unfeathered. Adult plumage is black with grayish-white upper wing patches and a downy white ruff around the base of the neck. Skin is a light gray shaded slightly with pink or red. Juvenile plumage is a dark grayish -brown with a dark gray head and neck. Andean condors have a strong, sharp, hooked bill that is a creamy-tan color. Their feet and legs are gray with black nails. Their feet are used for locomotion and holding prey down while ripping it apart with the beak, rather than strongly grasping onto things.

Status in the Wild

Due to poaching and human encroachment, the population has been reduced across the entire range, especially in the northern areas. However, due to re-introductions in Colombia, Argentina and Bolivia, populations are increasing.

Conservation Programs
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