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Friday, June 17, 2005

Birds: California Condor

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Description

Condor is the name for two species of bird in one of the vulture families. They are the largest flying land birds in the Western Hemisphere.

The South American Condor (Vultur gryphus) inhabits the Andes mountains. The California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus) inhabits the western coast of the United States. Although they are primarily scavengers, feeding on carrion, these species belong to the New World vulture family Cathartidae, related to storks and not closely related to Old World vultures, which are in the family Accipitridae along with hawks, eagles and kites.

Condors usually measure about 1.2 m (4 ft) from the point of the beak to the extremity of the tail and 3 m (10 ft) between the tips of its wings, and can weigh over 13 kilograms (30 lb). Although other birds may have larger wingspan, the wing chord of the condor (distance from leading to trailing edge of wing) is exceptionally large, resulting in a very large total wing area, an adaptation for soaring.

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(the picture is from this site)

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