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California Condor

ID Info
Silhouette VulturesVultures
California CondorGymnogyps californianus
  • ORDER: Cathartiformes
  • FAMILY: Cathartidae

Basic Description

The spectacular but endangered California Condor is the largest bird in North America. These superb gliders travel widely to feed on carcasses of deer, pigs, cattle, sea lions, whales, and other animals. Pairs nest in caves high on cliff faces. The population fell to just 22 birds in the 1980s, but there are now about 275 free-flying birds in California, Utah, Arizona, and Baja California with more than 160 in captivity. Lead poisoning remains a severe threat to their long-term prospects.

More ID Info
image of range map for California Condor
Range map provided by Birds of the World
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Find This Bird

California Condors nest in remote locations that are hard to access, but they travel widely in search of food. If you’re within range of condors in central California (the Big Sur coast or Pinnacles National Monument), southern California (inland from Ventura in the Sespe wilderness), or around the Grand Canyon, keep your eyes peeled for large, dark soaring birds. Study them closely to make sure they don’t teeter like a vulture, and check their proportions to help rule out buteos, eagles, and small planes. Most condors have a large tag on the wing for tracking.

Other Names

  • Cóndor Californiano (Spanish)
  • Condor de Californie (French)
  • Cool Facts