from the Cleveland Zoo
More information about The Andean Condor
Height 52" inches with wing span exceeding 10 to 12 feet."
Body length up to 100".
Weight 20 - 25 lbs. Males are much larger than females.
Overall color is shiny black with the wings having large white patches.
Has a white ring on it's wrinkled neck and a bare grayed head.
The bill is hooked and ivory in color.
Both sexes are alike in appearance with the exception that the
male has a bare caruncle on its head.
Andean Condors live in groups of three or more consisting of an equal
number of males, and related females and their offspring. In
the wild, hunting is usually done by scavenging, feeding in groups.
gryphus is the only bird species in which social feeding is routine.
Condors are very finicky eaters. They don't rush into their meals all
at once. In the wild, Condors have been known to wait as long as five days
before eating a meal, even when it`s set right in front of them.
In captivity, in order to preserve the Condors' nutritional health the
birds are always fed by the same keeper.
Special anatomical, physiological
or behavioral adaptations:
condor's ability to fly is related to the arrangement of the
hollow bone structure that supports its huge body. Andean
Condors, as well as all species of condors, have specialized
"carnassial beaks -- with high sharp ridges that act as
paper cutters". The condor also possesses a long neck
for tunnelling into its prey. The extension of the neck with
quite large masticating muscles allows them the ability to tear
flesh from dead animals. Many Andean Condors have been accused
of flying off with live infants in their huge claws. This cannot
be true because the Condors' feet are not equipped for grabbing
and holding onto any thing except maybe a fence rail perhaps.
The feet of the Condor resemble that of a turkey; they are webbed
and incapable of holding on to large animals.
Comments about the Andean Condors at
the Fort Worth Zoo:
Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus) is the largest terrestrial flying
bird. In captivity, the birds have been known to live more than 50
years. With a lack of space for nesting the Condor has developed the
ability to lay its eggs without a nest. When they lay their eggs the
whole cycle may require years just to incubate the huge, single egg.
After the chick hatches it does not learn to fly for six months, both
parents assist the infant in acquiring condor know-how.
In protecting the Condor from extinction, Zoo keepers at the For Worth
Zoo keep a close lookout for Condor eggs. The Condor has the ability to
lay eggs almost at random and if the egg is removed the Condor will immediately
lay another one. The Keeper will then remove the Condors' eggs and incubate
them so that the Condor will lay more eggs.
observing the Condor at the Fort Worth Zoo, I noticed that the birds
did not make any bird noises. They didn't squeak or squawk; in fact
the only sound coming from the Condors' compound was the sound that
their wings made as they flew from perch to perch. Andean Condors
are very silent birds because they don`t utilize their vocal cords.
Each Condor mades its own sound as its hugh wings pierce through
the air. So if by chance you are visiting the Andes Mountains of Columbia
and you hear the wind blowing and the trees are not moving you are
probably in the presence of an Andean Condor.
Condors: Main Page