California condor Facts

California condor Facts
California condor is one of the largest birds in the world and the largest bird of North America. This beautiful animal once inhabited almost whole North America. Today, California condor lives only in southern and eastern parts of California and Arizona. Number of California condors dropped drastically in the 20th century due to illegal stealing of eggs and poisoning. In 1987, only 22 California condors were left in the wild. Scientists collected all remaining animals from the wild and started a program of captive breeding. Today, less than 300 California condors live in the world. Around 130 of them can be found in the wild. California condors are listed as critically endangered animals.
Interesting California condor Facts:
California condor is very large bird. It can reach 3.5 to 4.5 feet in the length and 18 to 31 pounds of weight.
Wingspan of California condor reaches amazing 9 to 10 feet.
Although California condors have huge wingspan, they fly mainly by gliding on the strong, warm air currents.
California condor can reach the height of 15 000 feet while flying.
Whole body (except the head) of California condor is covered with black feathers. Head is bald or covered with only couple of feathers.
Skin on the head of California condor can change its color and it reflects emotional state of the bird.
Bald head of California condor is an adaptation to the specific type of feeding. Since California condor eats dead animals, lack of feathers on the head prevents sticking of rotten meat to the head and potential infections induced by bacteria.
California condor is a vulture (bird that feeds on dead animals). It prefers carcasses of deer, cattle and sheep. When large carcasses are not available, California condor will eat remains of smaller animals, such as rodents and rabbits.
California condor has huge appetite. In the case of large meal, California condor needs to rest for couple of hours before next round of flying.
California condor travels up to 150 miles per day while it searches for food.
Due to specific type of diet, California condors are ecologically very important animals. By removing the carcasses, they perform cleaning of the nature and prevent spreading of various diseases.
California condors do not have good sense of smell, but they have excellent eyesight.
California condors form nests in the crevices of rocks or in the caves. Female lays only one egg, usually between January and April. Both parents take good care of the chick.
Young California condor learns to fly at the age of 6 months. Even when it becomes proficient flyer, chick will stay with its parents for couple more months. California condors reproduce every second year.
California condor has very long lifespan when kept under appropriate conditions. It can survive up to 60 years.

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