WatchList Species Account for California Condor |
the list as a Red List Species
The California Condor is America's largest vulture, with
an impressive wingspread of over nine feet and a weight of over 18 pounds. It soars above
a vast home range and covers great distances during its daily
activities. In the early
19th century the bird ranged as far north as British Columbia
but by the mid-20th century was only found in southern California.
The California Condor is a social bird in its feeding behavior, and is primarily dependent on large mammalian
carcasses. These birds
also associate in communal roosts.
They do not reach sexual maturity until six years of age, and
lay only a single egg each year.
By 1987, excessive mortality
due to poisoning and shooting had virtually extirpated the
California Condor in the wild, so that the decision was made to capture
the remaining individuals; the only condors left alive at
that point were at the San Diego and Los Angeles Zoos.
Successful efforts to breed the bird in
captivity have added considerably to its numbers, and since
1992 there have been attempts to reintroduce it into the wild.
Lead poisoning continues to be a major threat to reintroduced populations
The primary threat to the bird during nesting
is predation on the eggs by ravens; Golden Eagles can pose a
threat to nestlings. Besides lead poisoning, a major
threat to the bird is collisions with overhead wires. Reintroduced populations are the subjects of ongoing intensive study