Sunday, September 4, 2011

California Condor

The California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) is the largest terrestrial bird in North America. It is black in color and sports a bald head with very few feathers. The color of the head varies from white to reddish purple. The bare head is an adaptation for hygiene since they eat dead and rotting meat and must, for the most part, stick their heads into the carcasses to feed.

The California Condor has a body length of 43 - 52 inches, a wingspan up to 9 1/2 feet, and weighs 18 - 23 pounds. Condors mostly consume carrion (dead animal carcasses). They prefer the carcasses of large dead animals like deer, cattle, and sheep; however, they are also known to eat the carcasses of smaller animals like rodents and rabbits.

Condors nest in a cave or cleft among boulders on a cliff or hillside. The female will lay the single egg directly on the floor of the cave. The egg is incubated for 54 - 58 days. The young condor learns to fly in about 6 months, but will stay with its parents for several more months. The extended breeding season prevents condors from breeding yearly. California Condors usually become sexually mature at 6 years of age.

California Condors are social birds and they spend a great deal of time feeding and roosting together.

Ugly Animals - California Condor

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