California Raptor Center

California Condor

Scientific Name: Gymnogyps californianus
(Gymnogyps comes from the Greek, gymnos ‘naked’ and gyps ‘vulture’ and californianus refers to the range of this bird).

Size: Length: 43-50in Wingspan: 98-118in

Weight: 8170-14,070g (range both sexes) (~17.9-30.9lb) (range both sexes)

Lifespan: Can live about 60years.

ID: Adults are large black birds with white on undersides of wings. Head and neck thick and orange, exposed skin on breast orange. Juveniles are similar, but head and neck grayish-black and underwings are a more mottled black and white.

Hunting: Soars for miles visually looking for prey. 

Prey: Large carrion.

Breeding: Condors require large areas of open savannah, grasslands, and foothill habitat with rock outcrops and large trees for nesting and roosting. They nest on a bare surface on the floor of a cave, in a cliff face, or on a steep slope; no nest is constructed. The Condors may not breed every year; when they do only a single egg is laid, usually between February and May. The egg is incubated by both adults. Incubation lasts 42-50 days. The chick is raised by both parents with the food being brought to the nest in the crop of the adult and regurgitated. The young condor remains in the nest for 5 to 7 months at which age it can make short flights. It remains dependent on the adults until it is 12 to 14 months old.Young condors do not breed until they are 6 to 8 years about the time they acquire full adult coloration.

Range: Exterminated in the wild. Introduced birds resident in southern California and Grand Canyon region of Arizona, not yet self-sustaining.

Status: Severely endangered. All nine remaining wild condors were captured in 1987. A captive breeding program has been successful in producing young, and condors have been reintroduced into California and Arizona. Wild condors are breeding, but have not yet been successful in producing young surviving to breeding age. Details on the captive breeding and reintroduction project can be found at the Peregrine Fund web site and at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service web site.