Biological Informations on the Condor
Vultur gryphus and Gymnogyps californianus
The condor can be found within the Andes, from western Venezuela down to Patagonia. Its habitat is the high mountain-range. The californian condor was once living at the whole western coast of northern america. It is near to extinction (in the 80´s there were being 22 individuals left!). Today 120 californian condors are living, partly in freedom (I think in the californian deserts?).
Genus species: Vultur gryphus and Gymnogyps californianus
Fossils of the condor records back in time up to 60 million years. The first Condor possessed an incredible wingspan of 16 foot, thus being named Teratornis Incredibilis - Unbelievable Bird Monster.
The andean condor is measuring 45 to 54 inches, weighing up to 27 pounds and has a wingspan of up to 12 feet (the californian condor: 9 feet). The californian condor possess a black ruff and the andean condor a white one. The typical silver-white coloring of the feathers only the adults possess. The condor is biogenetically related to the stork. The male is larger than the female bird, which is an unique characteristic among the birds of prey. In many regions the andean condor is nearly extinct. In some regions, however, there are plenty of them left. The diet consists of carrion mainly, but the condor hunts down ill or dying animals, on occasion. The female condor has red eyes and the male condor possess a camb. The female condor lays one egg per year and the breeding time is about 54-58 days. The chicks are altricial and nidicolous. They depend on their parents feeding far into the second year. In captivity condors live about 85 years, in wilderness they reach the 40s. They can fly up to 21000 feet and reach a maximum velocity of about 55 km/h. There is something disconcerting about the death of a condor: at the end of its lifespan the condor flies up as high as possible and descends down at a high velocity getting dashed against the rocks of a mountain. The condors preferred to end their life in this tradition for millennias.
A comparison of the anatonomy (bone-structure) between a pteranodon and a condor. The graphyc was done by Karl Moseley and was being published by Harcourt, Brace & Company