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Andean Condor

Female Andean Condor
Phylum : Chordata
Class : Aves
Order : Disputed
Family : Cathartidae
Genus : Vultur
Species : V. gryphus

Weight : Up to 33lbs (15kg)
Wingspan : 10ft (3m)

IUCN Status : Near Threatened

Andean Condors are the largest raptors in the world, as well as the largest flying birds on the continent of South America. They are so large that they need strong wind currents to keep them soaring, since the amount of energy required to keep their massive wings flapping would be difficult to maintain. A good draft can mean that the Condor only needs to flap its wings once per hour!

These birds are natively found in the both the Andes mountains, and along the entire western coast of South America. Unfortunately, the species is in danger, and has a decreasing wild population due to human persecution. There are only a few thousand in the wild, though reintroduction efforts have been underway in several countries.

Andean Condor in Flight
Andean Condors are scavengers, and their bald head reflects that feeding style. The lack of feathers makes it easier for them to stay clean while digging around in corpses. They also have strong, hooked beaks that allow them to tear into flesh. Andean Condors have excellent eyesight that lets them easily spot meals while soaring about. Did you know that they can also consume as much as 15lbs (7kg) of meat in a single feeding?

There are some distinctions between the male and female condors. Males are larger and have combs on the top of their heads, as well as a neck wattle that is used to attract a mate. Andean Condors mate for life, and can live well over 50 years.

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