California Condor

Gymnogyps californianus

Go Back to Field Guide
  • California Condor |  Photo: Michael Quinn, NPS
  • California Condor |  Photo: Michael Quinn, NPS
  • California Condor |  Photo: Michael Quinn, NPS
  • California Condor |  Photo: Michael Quinn, NPS
wowslider.com by WOWSlider.com v8.6m

California Condor Photo Gallery

Basic Information

Order

Accipitriformes

Family

Cathartidae

Size

California Condors are generally between 46 and 53 inches in length.

Lifespan

up to 45 years

Weight

California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus) facts, habitat, range, condor pictures and bird watching tips to help you identify the rare bird of prey.

Diet

Carrion

Behavior

Soaring

Range

Isolated Pockets Southwestern U.S.

Nest Placement

Cliff

Number of Offspring

1 Egg

Egg Description

Pale Blue/Green - Cream/White

Condition at Hatching

Helpless

Social Status

Pairs

Wingspan

9–9.25 ft

Observation Tips

Good luck, we recommend taking a remote hike in Zion, Grand Canyon or Pinnacles National Parks.

What does the California Condor look like?

California Condors are the largest birds of prey in North America. They have extremely long, broad black wings with clean white patches on the underside and finger-like tips. Their tail is short and fanned. Adults have a featherless orange yellow head. Immature Condors have dark heads and gray necks. Adult coloration occurs around 7 years of age.

California Condor Habitat

Mountains

California Condor Facts

Seeing a California Condor in the wild should be on every nature lover's bucket-list. They are currently critically endangered, but have seen growth in numbers thanks to successful breeding programs. In the 1980's their numbers fell to around twenty birds. Today more than 200 soar in the wild. California Condor's are North America's largest bird with a wingspan of more than 9 feet. These scavenging carrion (carcass eating) eaters can survive up to two weeks without eating. They can do so because once they find a carcass they get their fill, eating up to three pounds at a single sitting. When at a carcass they rule all other scavengers, with the exception being the Golden Eagle, whose razor sharp and incredibly strong talons trump the Condors superior size. They are graceful, slow fliers that soar high in the air and are willing to travel great distances in search of food. Condor recovery has been slow for a number of reasons. They have a very slow reproduction rate. Females lay one egg and don't always nest each year. Young Condors are clumsy and often crash land when learning to fly. They depend on their parents for more than year after hatching. Also, California Condors reach sexual maturity late, generally not until they are at least 6 years old, often even older than that. Lastly, given their preference for fresh carrion, they are extremely vulnerable to lead poisoning. Their historic range was much larger; Lewis and Clark viewed California Condors at the mouth of the Columbia River during their expedition across the country.

See also