Condor

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Condors
An Andean Condor soars over southern Peru's Colca Canyon.
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Ciconiiformes
Family: Cathartidae
A Californian condor (not fully grown yet)

Condor is the name for two species of New World vultures. Each is the only species in its genus. They are the largest flying land birds in the Western Hemisphere. They are:

Condors are part of the family Cathartidae, whereas the 15 species of Old World vultures are in the family Accipitridae, that also includes falcons, hawks, and eagles. The New World and Old World vultures evolved from different ancestors.

Condors are scavengers. They feed on carrion (dead animals). Their distinctive bare heads are an adaptation to their feeding method. It helps to keep them clean as they feed inside a carcass.

The Andean Condor has a wingspan of between 274 and 310 cm, and weights around 11–15 kg. The California Condor is smaller.

Fossil record[change | change source]

Fossils from the Pleistocene era have been found in various parts of North America, including New York and Florida. California Condors or their ancestors once lived on the west coast of North America as well as all the way to the eastern coast. An ancient relative of the condor, Argentavis magnificens from South America, may have been the largest flying bird ever with a wingspan of 7 metres (23 ft).[1]

References[change | change source]

  1. Campbel K.E. & Tonni E.P. 1983. Size and locomotion in teratorns (Aves: Teratornithidae). Auk 100(2): 390-403

Other websites[change | change source]