• High Peaks and Big Berry Manzanita. NPS Photo|Sierra Willoughby

    Pinnacles

    National Park California

California Condor

Turkey Vulture and California Condor flying

Turkey Vulture (top) and California Condor (bottom) in flight

©Richard Lewis

California Condor. Gymnogyps californianus

Possessing a nearly ten-foot wingspan, the California Condor is one of the rarest birds in North America and was heading towards extinction in the 1980s before an intensive conservation program began to manage the remaining birds. Larger than Bald and Golden Eagles and masters of flight, condors make their homes in the rock towers, cliffs, and spires of Pinnacles National Park. Despite their larger size, condors and Turkey Vultures can be mistaken for each other, especially when sighted from a distance. When seen from below in flight, adult condors have white triangular patches on the leading edge of the wings. Condors are scavengers and cover a huge range in their search for carrion; they can glide from Pinnacles National Park to the Big Sur coast in about an hour. If you do see a California Condor, count yourself fortunate in witnessing a charismatic species whose near-extinction and slow but steady recovery can be traced to human impacts and intervention.


Diet: A scavenger, condors will feed on a range of carcasses, from rodents up to deer, cows, and marine mammals.


Wingspan: 109” (9.5 - 10 feet!), largest wingspan of North American birds Length: 46”


Did you know? During times of courtship or alarm, the bare head of an adult condor can turn a deep pinkish red.


Did You Know?