The California Condor

Will this bird soar once again?

The California Condor

The California Condor is a New World vulture. This species was once widespread in North America, but in the 1900s the population declines until in late 1900s, when it was said that only 22 individuals were in the wild. In 1987 the California Condors were extinct in the wild (EW) when the last of 6 living individuals was captured to join a captive-breeding program. After its reintroduction to the wild, the population has increased to 213 individuals in the wild. It was classified as critically endangered (CR) species for 16 consecutive years, as of 2010. Most birds live in California, but some birds live in Arizona, and still some live in Mexico.

California Condor's Food Chain

California Condors were actually scavengers, that means they feed on carcass of dead animals. However, they aren't disgusting. In fact, they are very tidy and immune to many diseases.
California Condor

California Condor's Habitat

California Condors perfer to live in areas such as rocky shrubland, as well as coniferous forests and oak savanna. They usually nests on the cliff, rocky outcrops, and large trees.

How California Condors Adapt

Since California Condors were scavengers, many people usually thought them disgusting. The truth was the opposite, however.

California Condors have to be tidy and have a good immune system. To clean themselves, the condors cleaned their head by rubbing on grass, rocks, or branches. They also bathe often and spend time working on their feathers. To fight against the disease, the California Condors have an effective immune system, so that they don't get sick from eating carcasses, which might containing any disease-causing agents such as bacteria.

The California Condors perfer to stay in pairs and mate for life. They only breed every other year, and usually give birth to two eggs in February and March. The eggs hatched 54 to 58 years later.

Critical Information

The bird that was once widespread in North America, was now confined to California, Arizona, and Mexico, of today. How and why did this happen?

The population decline might have done to it. But it is not simple. Shooting, lead poisoning, and persecution were the threats to the California Condors today. Back in the early 1900s, the California Condor's population declines drastically, because of those reasons. Beside those threats, power lines also do some dents to the California Condor's population. In late 1900s the birds were recognized as one of the endangered. Then, in 1980, when the condor population have dropped to an all time low of 22 birds, the government finally took action. All remaining 6 Califorinia Condors were held in captivity in 1987 until its reintroduction to the wild in 1992. An intensive conservation action followed, raising its population to 213 wild indivituals, as of 2012. Laws were enacted to protect the endangered species, such as the law that bans firearms in national parks. A proposed action would moniter the bird population and extent, as well as the continuation of releasing captive birds into the wild.

So far, in spite of all efforts, it looks like the mortality rate for the condors are still higher than sustainable level. This would change in the future.