California Condor

California Condor

Gymnogyps californianus

Critically Endangered

Known for its imposing stature and striking black and white plumage, the California Condor is a remarkable symbol of America's wild heritage. As the largest flying bird in North America, this majestic scavenger soars across expansive skies, its vast wingspan a breathtaking sight across the rugged terrain of California and Arizona. Despite its grandeur, this iconic bird faces a critical battle for survival, making it an emblem of both the beauty and the fragility of the natural world.

Appearance and Identification

Males and females have similar plumage

Primary Color


Primary Color (juvenile)

Dark Brown

Secondary Colors


Secondary Colors (female)

Secondary Colors (juvenile)


Secondary Colors (seasonal)

Wing Color


Wing Color (juvenile)

Dark Brown

Beak Type


Beak Color


Beak Color (juvenile)

Dark Grey

Leg Color


Leg Color (juvenile)


Distinctive Markings

White underwing patches

Distinctive Markings (juvenile)

Less pronounced than adults

Tail Description

Short, broad, slightly rounded

Tail Description (juvenile)

Darker with less distinct markings

Size Metrics

117cm to 134cm


274cm to 300cm


8.1kg to 11kg



Click on an image below to see the full-size version

Vocalization and Sounds

Primary Calls

Hissing, grunting

Call Description

Mostly silent, except during feeding or threat displays

Alarm Calls

Growling hiss

Behavior and Social Structure

Daily Activities

Active during the day, with peak activity in the morning and evening

Social Habits

Solitary or in pairs, occasionally forms larger groups around food sources

Territorial Behavior

Defends nesting sites, but not feeding territories

Migratory Patterns

Does not migrate, but travels widely within range

Interaction with Other Species

Dominant at carrion sites, often displacing smaller scavengers


Primary Diet


Feeding Habits

Scavenger, feeds on large carcasses

Feeding Times

Mainly morning and late afternoon

Prey Capture Method

Does not capture prey, locates carrion by sight

Diet Variations

Feeds on a variety of carrion, depending on availability

Special Dietary Needs (if any)

None known


Nesting Location

Caves or large crevices in cliffs

Nest Construction

No nest constructed, egg laid on bare rock or soil

Breeding Season

Winter to spring

Number of clutches (per breeding season)

One, but not all adults breed each year

Egg Appearance

White, unmarked

Egg Size

Approximately 11cm x 7cm

Clutch Characteristics

Single egg

Incubation Period

Around 54 days

Fledgling Period

Approximately 6 months

Parental Care

Both parents incubate egg and feed chick

Distribution and Habitat

Geographic Range

Southern California, Arizona, Utah, Baja California

Habitat Description

Mountainous regions, canyons, scrublands

Elevation Range

Sea level to 3000m

Migration Patterns

Does not migrate, but travels widely within range


Desert, Grassland, Forest

Climate zones

Temperate, Subtropical

Distribution Map

Please note, this range and distribution map is a high-level overview, and doesn't break down into specific regions and areas of the countries.

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