- California condors have a wingspan of 9.5 feet (3 meters)- at least 2 feet longer than the next largest bird in the region (the golden eagle).
- Adults are primarily black, but have a brilliant white triangle under each wing and a red or orange head.
- Juveniles (less than six years old) are almost entirely black, with dark heads and mottled grey plumage on the underside of each wing.
- Most have obvious number tags on one or both wings identifying the individual.
- Condors hold their wings directly to the side as they fly. Turkey vultures, which are commonly mistaken for condors, hold their wings in a slight "V" as they fly, with the wingtips pointing slightly upwards.
- There are currently 3 wild populations of condors: Arizona/Utah, California, and Baja California.
- Condors nest and roost on ledges and caves in cliff faces. This protects them from predators on the ground.
- Condors do not have territories and travel daily, often roosting in a different place each night. They usually will not return to the same place on a regular basis unless they have a nest with an egg or chick.
- Condors are scavengers. They exclusively eat dead large mammals such as elk, mule deer, bighorn sheep, and cows.
- Unlike vultures, which use their sense of smell to find food, condors use their vision.
- Condors can fly hundreds of miles per day searching for food, using thermal updrafts and their aerodynamic bodies to conserve energy and fly very efficiently.
- Condors become sexually mature at 6 years of age, but often will not find a mate until they are several years older. Once they do, they often mate for life. Condors lay 1 egg at a time, and chicks are dependent on their parents for a year and a half. This means that condors reproduce very slowly- at most they can have 1 offspring every other year.
- California condors can live into their 60s. The oldest condors in the Arizona/Utah flock hatched in 1995.