Critter Science

The Science of Animals

Andean condor

The Andean Condor

With an impressive wingspan of over 10 feet, the Andean condor is considered as the largest flying bird in the world! They also have the largest wingspan of any raptor. Due to their enormous size, they aren’t the best at staying in the air. This is why these scavengers tend to reside in high wind areas. Once aloft though, they can reach elevations of up to and over 18,000 feet in the air!

First the Stats…

Scientific name: Vultur gryphus
Weight: Up to 33 lbs.
Length: Up to 4.3 feet
Wingspan: Up to 10.5 feet
Lifespan: Up to 70 years

Now on to the Facts!

1.) These raptors are sexually dimorphic (males and females look noticeably different). Males have yellow eyes and females have red eyes. Males are larger than females, and have a white ruff at the base of their necks. Females lack this ruff.

2.) Being vultures, the majority of their diet consists of carrion (dead animals). They act as a very important clean up crew.

3.) They are listed by the IUCN as near threatened due to habitat loss, hunting, and subsequent poisoning.

4.) Andean condors can consume around 15 lbs of meat in a single sitting!

5.) Several zoos have engaged in condor breeding programs, aimed at revitalizing the populations.

But wait, there’s more on the Andean condor!

6.) These Condors only produce 1 egg every 2 years, and incubate for 54 – 58 days. Most Andean condors don’t build a protective nest for their egg. Instead, they simply lay the egg on a bare cliff edge.

7.) During the mating season, the male spreads his wings, clicks his tongue and hisses, and his neck turns yellow. All this to attract a female.

Did you know…?
The Incas believed that the condor brought the sun into the sky every morning and was even a messenger to the gods.

8.) Both parents incubate and raise the chick together, giving their young as much care and attention as possible. Baby Condors usually leave their parents by their 2nd year and take 6 – 8 years to reach adulthood.

Now a Short Andean Condor Video!

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Critter Man

With over 40 years of critter experience to my credit and hundreds of zoology teaching hours to people around the world, I have amassed not only a continuing thirst for critter knowledge but a desire to teach others all I can about the majesty and wonder of our natural world. Critter Science is a culmination of such knowledge.I have hands on as well as book acquired intel on all kinds of critters. Whether they're on land, sea, or air.I will never say that I know everything about all animals. That's impossible, even for a savant. But, that being said, ask me any animal question and I'll answer it. If I don't know the answer, I'll get an answer for you!Let it be said that I have been oft times accused of loving animals more than I love people. I can neither confirm nor deny this.

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