US Fish & Wildlife Service
Download Condor Tag Chart (10/18/2013)
"Condors of the Canyon" Listen to audiocast
Daily CA condor ranger talk times on South Rim
Regarded as one of the rarest birds in the world, the California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) is the largest land bird in North America with a wingspan up to 9 1/2 feet and weighing up to 23 pounds. Adults are primarily black except for triangle-shaped patches of bright white underneath their wings. These patches are visible when condors are flying overhead and offer a key identification characteristic.
Males and females are identical in size and plumage. The bare heads of condors are grayish-black as juveniles and turn a dull orange-pink as adults. Condors are members of the New World vulture family and are opportunistic scavengers, feeding exclusively on dead animals such as deer, cattle, rabbits, and large rodents.
Using thermal updrafts, condors can soar and glide at up to 50 miles per hour and travel 100 miles or more per day searching for food while expending little energy.
When not foraging for food, condors spend most of their time perched at a roost. Cliffs, tall conifers, and snags serve as roost sites in Grand Canyon National Park.
NPS photo by Michael Quinn
Nest sites are often found in caves and rock crevices. Condors do not build nests. Instead, an egg about 5 inches in length and weighing around 10 ounces is deposited on bare ground. Condors typically lay a single egg every other year. The egg hatches after 56 days of incubation and both parents share responsibility for incubation and for feeding the nestling. Young condors leave the nest when they are 5 to 6 months old.
There are currently 73 condors flying free in northern Arizona and southern Utah, including several that were raised in wild nest caves within or near to the Grand Canyon.
The rest come from the captive breeding program. Even the wild-raised birds are mostly now wearing numbered tags and transmitters. The numbers allow you to learn more specifics about any bird you get a close look at.
So look out for these magnificent birds soaring on their 9-foot (nearly 3-meter) wingspan over Grand Canyon National Park. During the warmer months they are seen regularly from the South Rim and frequently also from the North Rim. On the South Rim, try scanning the cliffs and Douglas-fir trees below the Bright Angel Lodge late in the afternoon. In this area some condors select overnight roosts from late April through July and to some degree from March through October.
What highly endangered bird with a 9-foot (2.7-m) wingspan is often spotted at Grand Canyon? The California condor ! Learn about these majestic birds and their reintroduction in northern Arizona in a talk on the canyon's rim.
South Rim - Fall 2013 (September 3 - November 30, 2013) 3:00 p.m.daily
In this video, Pinnacles N.M. Wildlife Biologist, Jim Petterson, and a group of other hunters compare the performance of lead and non-lead bullets.
He also discusses the potential impacts of lead bullet fragmentation on wildlife and humans. Watch the Video here...
October 18, 2013 - NOTES FROM THE FIELD, Condor Update
Ten condors were transferred from the World Center for Birds of Prey in Bosie, Idaho to the Vermilion Cliffs Release Pens. Three (condors 647, 653, and 655) were released on September 28th. Necropsy results are in for 413 and 592.
413, male, Tag 13, hatched in 2006, released in 2010; found dead and intact on 19 June; cause of death- vehicular collision.
592, female, Tag L2, hatched in 2011, released in 2012; found dead and scavenged on 29 June; cause of death- coyote predation.
Breeding status update:
For the first time since the beginning of the reintroduction into Arizona, there are 4 confirmed wild chicks! As of this update, all our still alive and one (chick 722) fledged on October 10th.
234 and 280, Grand Canyon (Battleship Cave) - estimated lay date of 4 March 2013, - CHICK (SB 719) - estimated hatch 30 Apr 13 - Confirmed visual of chick 30 May 2013
Current population numbers from the US Fish & Wildlife Service, as of August 31, 2013
World Total: 430
Wild Population: 229
o California Population: 134
o Baja California, Mexico Population: 30
o Arizona/Utah Population: 76
Janice Stroud-Settles, Wildlife Biologist
Division of Science and Resource Management
Grand Canyon National Park
Visit the Condor Update Archive for past updates.
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Did You Know?
The Cambrian seas of the Grand Canyon were home to several kinds of trilobite, whose closest living relative is the modern horsehoe crab. They left their fossil record in the mud of the Bright Angel Shale over 500 million years ago.