California Condor

(Gymnogyps californianus)




Facts about this animal

With a total length of 109-146 cm and a wingspan of up to 290 cm, the California Condor is the largest New World Vulture of North America. The head is naked except for short bristly, black feathers on the forehead, and sparingly on the sides of the face. The skin is orange to greyish yellow with a purplish red patch on the lower side of the neck. The neck has an inflatable pouch, which is important in courtship. The plumage is black with large white patches under each wing. This condor has a whitish bill and pink legs.

Did you know?
that California condors do not have vocal chords, so they only make hissing and grunting noises?


Class AVES
Name (Scientific) Gymnogyps californianus
Name (English) California Condor
Name (French) Condor de Californie
Name (German) Kalifornischer Kondor
Name (Spanish) Cóndor californiano
CITES Status Appendix I
CMS Status Appendix II (as Cathartidae spp.)



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Range USA, extinct in Mexico
Habitat Wooded mountains and scrublands
Wild population 130 (2006)
Zoo population 95 reported to ISIS (2009)

In the Zoo

California Condor


How this animal should be transported

Untrained birds travel better in completely dark boxes, with a carpeted floor and roof, with an upwards sliding door at one end and no perch. As a general rule, trained birds are easier to manage in boxes with a carpeted perch at the right height to give plenty of head and tail room, and with a hinged side opening door.

For air transport, Container Note 20 of the IATA Live Animals Regulations should be followed.


Find this animal on ZooLex


Photo Copyright by
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Why do zoos keep this animal

Because the California condor was doomed to become extinct, the last free-living specimens were captured and an ex situ breeding programme established (AZA Survival Plan). From this programme birds were returned to the wild, and there is now again a wild population of more than 120 birds.