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Condors
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Ciconiiformes
Family: Cathartidae
Genera

Vultur
Gymnogyps

Condor is the name for two species of New World vultures, each in a monotypic genus. They are the largest flying land birds in the Western Hemisphere.

They are:

Contents

Taxonomy

Condors are part of the family Cathartidae, whereas the 15 species of Old World vultures are in the family Accipitridae, that also includes falcons, hawks, and eagles. The New World and Old World vultures evolved from different ancestors. However, they both are carrion-eaters and have distinctive bare heads.

See Sibley-Ahlquist taxonomy for an alternative classification.

Appearance

Both condors are very large broad-winged soaring birds, the Andean Condor being 5 cm shorter (beak to tail) on average than the northern species, but larger in wingspan. California Condors are the largest flying land birds in North America.

The adult plumage is uniformly black, with the exception of a frill of white feathers nearly surrounding the base of the neck and are meticulously kept clean by the bird. As an adaptation for hygiene, the condor's head and neck have few feathers, which exposes the skin to the sterilizing effects of dehydration and solar ultraviolet light at high altitudes. The head is much flattened above. In the male it is crowned with a caruncle or comb, while the skin of the neck in the male lies in folds, forming a wattle. The skin of the head and neck is capable of flushing noticeably in response to emotional state, which serves to communicate between individuals.

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The middle toe is greatly elongated, and the hinder one but slightly developed, while the talons of all the toes are comparatively straight and blunt. The feet are thus more adapted to walking as in their relatives the storks, and of little use as weapons or organs of prehension as in birds of prey and Old World vultures. The female, contrary to the usual rule among birds of prey, is smaller than the male.

Although it is on average about five cm shorter from beak to tail than the California Condor, the Andean Condor is larger in wingspan, which ranges from 274 to 310 cm (9 to 10 ft).[1] It is also heavier, reaching up to 11 to 15 kg (24 to 33 lb) for males and 7.5 to 11 kg (16 to 24 lb) for females.[2] Overall length can range from 117 to 135 cm (46 to 53 in.).[3] Measurements are usually taken from specimens reared in captivity.[1]

California Condors' wingspan measures up to 2.9 m (9.5 ft), and they can weigh up to 10.4 kg (23 lb). The skin on the necks will vary in color, depending on the age of the birds. Adult birds' skin color can range from cream, pink, yellow, or even orange during breeding season.

Fossil record

Fossils from the Pleistocene era have been found in various parts of North America, including New York and Florida, leading scientists to believe that California Condors or their ancestors once lived on the west coast of North America as well as all the way to the eastern coast. Some scientists also believe that an ancient relative of the condor, Argentavis magnificens from South America, may have been the largest flying bird ever with a wingspan of 7 meters (23 feet)[4].

Behavior

Sexual maturity and breeding behavior do not appear in the condor until 5 or 6 years of age. They may live for 50 years or more, and mate for life. One captive bird lived for 77 years.

The young are covered with a grayish down until they are almost as large as their parents. They are able to fly after six months, but continue to roost and hunt with their parents until age two, when they are displaced by a new clutch. There is a well developed social structure within large groups of condors, with competition to determine a 'pecking order' by body language, competitive play behavior, and a wide variety of vocalizations, even though the condor has no voice box.

On the wing the movements of the condor, as it wheels in circles, are remarkably graceful. The lack of a large sternum to anchor correspondingly large flight muscles identifies it physiologically as a primary soarer. The birds flap their wings on rising from the ground, but after attaining a moderate elevation they seem to sail on the air.

Wild condors inhabit large territories, often traveling 250 km (150 miles ) a day in search of carrion. They prefer large carcasses such as deer or cattle which they spot by looking for other scavengers, which cannot rip through the tougher hides of these larger animals with the efficiency of the larger condor. In the wild they are intermittent eaters, often going for a few days without eating, then gorging themselves on several kilograms at once, sometimes to the point of being unable to lift off the ground. , Arizona.]]

Other

Lima, Peru.]]

The Moche people of ancient Peru worshiped nature.[5] They placed emphasis on animals and often depicted condors in their art. [6] The same is true of the later Inca civilizations: the condor represented sky as one of the three celebrated animals.

California Condors are intertwined in many Native American cultures. There are people who believe California Condors were the origin of the Thunderbird myth,[citation needed] while some Western tribes regarded the California Condors as sacred beings, using feathers in religious ceremonies.[citation needed] The Chumash tribe believes that if the condors become completely extinct, so will the tribe.[citation needed]

References

  1. ^ a b Ferguson-Lees, James; Christie, David A. (2001). Raptors of the World. Boston: Houghton Mifflin. ISBN 0-618-12762-3. 
  2. ^ Lutz, Dick; Lutz, Richard L. (2002). Patagonia: At the Bottom of the World. DIMI Press. pp. 71–74. http://books.google.com/books?id=0CZTQn15YhUC&pg=PA73&. 
  3. ^ Hilty, Stephen L. (1977). A Guide to the Birds of Colombia. Princeton University Press. pp. 88. ISBN 069108372X. http://books.google.com/books?id=1k5fV_hQqE8C&pg=PA88. 
  4. ^ Campbell,K.E. & Tonni, E.P. 1983. Size and locomotion in teratorns (Aves: Teratornithidae). Auk. 1983; 100(2): 390-403
  5. ^ Benson, Elizabeth, The Mochica: A Culture of Peru. New York, NY: Praeger Press. 1972
  6. ^ Berrin, Katherine & Larco Museum. The Spirit of Ancient Peru:Treasures from the Museo Arqueológico Rafael Larco Herrera. New York: Thames and Hudson, 1997.

External links

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Wiktionary

Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also cóndor

Contents

English

Etymology

From Quechua cuntur

Noun

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Wikipedia

Singular
condor

Plural
condors or condor

condor (plural condors or condor)

  1. Either of two New World vultures, Vultur gryphus of the Andes or Gymnogyps californianus, a nearly extinct vulture of the mountains of California.
  2. A gold coin of some South American countries bearing the figure of one of these vultures.
  3. An Argentinian short range ballistic missile.
  4. (golf) In golf, four under par (quadruple birdie, triple eagle, or double albatross)

Translations

Anagrams


Italian

Noun

condor m. inv.

  1. condor (bird)

Derived terms

Anagrams


Simple English

Condors
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Ciconiiformes
Family: Cathartidae

Condors are a species of bird. They are the largest flying birds that still exist. There are two species of condor, one that lives in the Andes, and another one, that lives in California. Condors are scavengers. They feed on carrion. Carrion is meat, that other animals leave behind. It can also be animals that died.

Condors belong to the family of New World Vultures. There is also a family Old World Vultures, which contains eagles, kites, and hawks amongst others. The Condors are more closely related to the storks though.

The Andean condor, has a wingspan of between 274 and 310 cm, and weights around 11-15 kg.

The Californian Condor is smaller.

Other pages

Look up Vultur in Wikispecies, a directory of species
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