Home | Species Database | Species Accounts | Bibliography | Researchers | Related Sites | Login

Andean Condor
Vultur gryphus

Status: Near Threatened

Population Trend: Declining.

Other Names: Great Condor, South American Condor.

more photos
Vultur gryphus
click to enlarge
Distribution: Neotropical. Andean Cordillera from COLOMBIA (formerly Santa Marta) and northwestern VENEZUELA (Mérida) south to TIERRA DEL FUEGO (Isla Grande); coastal PERU and CHILE; BRAZIL (Mato Grosso). more....

Subspecies: Monotypic.

Taxonomy: Formerly placed in the genus Sarcoramphus, but syringeal morphology indicates that and Vultur are sister taxa (Griffiths 1994).

Movements: Irruptive or local migrant (Bildstein 2006). Commutes locally from higher altitudes to lower ones in many parts of its range and also engages in larger scale seasonal movements from one feeding region to another. The possibility of long-distance intra-Andean movements cannot be excluded (Bildstein 2004). Reintroduced subadult male Andean Condors in Argentina dispersed over areas up to 60,000 km² (Dudley and Hilliard 2005). Wallace and Temple (1987) reported ranges of up to 1,300 km² over a 170-day period for reintroduced birds in Peru and straight-line movements of up to 210 km.

Habitat and Habits: High montane canyons and peaks throughout the Andes; descends to coast in southern part of range. Soars high and effortlessly, either singly, in pairs, or family groups of three, and larger groups are rarely seen. Favors open grasslands. Roosts communally on inaccessible cliffs and rocky outcrops in traditional locations known as "condoreras."

Food and Feeding Behavior: Mostly carrion, but they may also kill helpless live prey, including new-born animals. Condors tend to feed mostly on muscle and viscera at larger carcasses. Several birds may gather at a single carcass, and these condors are dominant over all other avian scavengers.

Breeding: No nest is built, but the egg is laid on the ground in a natural cavity in rockpiles or in a cave high in cliff. Clutch size is 1 egg, which is chalky white and unmarked.more....

Threats: Human persecution is still a major threat for this species.

Conservation: Endangered in Colombia, Venezuela, and Ecuador; Vulnerable in the southern portion of the range, including Bolivia, Peru, Chile, and Argentina. Still relatively common in many portions of the latter two countries, but probably gradually declining in all but Argentina and southern Chile. Suffers from excessive shooting, capture for Indian rituals, poisoning, and, in some areas, a lack of food. Formerly found commonly at sea bird colonies in Peru, but extirpated from the Paracas Peninsula, a former stronghold, by guano workers to prevent them from feeding on nestling seabirds (Clements 2001). Programs of reintroducing captive-produced young into Colombia and Venezuela were initiated in 1989 and 1993, respectively, and have resulted in population increases in both countries. Vigorous public education programs are underway in both countries, and elaborate management programs have been underway for years in Argentina (Jácome and Astore 2007) and Chile (Pavez 2007). BirdLife International (2007) categorizes the Andean Condor as Near Threatened. more....

Important References: 
Bruning, D. 1983. Breeding condors in captivity for release in the wild.
  Zoo Biology 2:245-252.
Donázar, J.A., and J.E. Feijóo. 2002. Social structure of Andean Condor
  roosts: influence of sex, age, and season. Condor 104:832-837.
Ferguson-Lees, J., and D.A. Christie. 2001. Raptors of the world. Houghton
  Mifflin, Boston, MA.
Hendrickson, S.L., R. Bleiweiss, J.C. Matheus, L. Silva de Matheus, N.L.
  Jácome, and E. Pavez.
2003. Low genetic variability in the geographically
  widespread Andean Condor. Condor 105:1-12.
Housse, É. 1940. [The condor (Vultur gryphus, Linne)]. Boletin del Museu
  de Historia Natural "Javier Prado" 4:223-242. (In Spanish)
Houston, D.C. 1994. Family Cathartidae (New World vultures). Pp. 24-41 in
  del Hoyo, J, A. Elliott, and J. Sargatal (eds.), Handbook of the birds of
  the world. Vol. 2. New World vultures to guineafowl. Lynx Edicions,
  Barcelona., Spain.
Koenen, M.T., S. Gale-Koenen, and N. Yanez. 2000. An evaluation of the
  Andean Condor population in northern Ecuador. Journal of Raptor Reearch
Kusch, A. 2005. Posaderos de Cόndor Andino Vultur gryphus en el
  extremo sur de Chile: antecedentes para la conservaciόn de la especie.
  Cotinga 25:65-68.
Kusch, A. 2004. [Distribution and use of roost sites by the Andean Condor
  (Vultur gryphus) in Chilean Patagonia]. Ornitologia Neotropical
  15:313-317. (In Spanish with English summary)
Lambertucci, S.A. 2007. [Biology and conservation of the Andean Condor
  (Vultur gryphus) in Argentina]. Hornero 22:149-158. (In Spanish with
  English summary)
Lambertucci, S.A., and O.A. Mastrantuoni. 2008. Breeding behavior of a
  pair of free-living Andean Condors. Journal of Field Ornithology 79:147-151.
Lieberman, A., J.V. Rodriguez, J.M. Páaez, and J. Wiley. 1993. The
  reintroduction of the Andean Condor into Colombia, South America. Oryx
Sarno, R.J., W.L. Franklin, and W.S. Prexl. 2000. Activity and population
  characteristics of Andean Condors in southern Chile. Revista Chilena de
  Historia Natural 73:3-8.
Wallace, M.P., and S.A. Temple. 1987. Competitive interactions within and
  between species in a guild of avian scavengers. Auk 104:290-295.

Current Research: Zoo Boise recently awarded The Peregrine Fund a grant to support studies of the Andean Condor in Ecuador. The main objectives of the study are to conduct a systemtic census of the condors in Ecuador, to determine group and family dynamics in the population, identify the main threats to survival, and to train two Ecuadorian students in census and monitoring techniques.

Sites of Interest:
Birding Peru
A blog with useful information on condor conservation in Santa Eulalia Valley, Peru.
Parque Nacional Sierra Nevada
Details on the reintroduction of the Andean Condor in Venezuela.
Andean Condor Reintroduction Program
Condor reintroduction project in Colombia.
Fundación Bioandino Argentina
Andean Condor conservation group in Argentina with a broad range of programs.
Andean Condor photos.
Buenos Aires Zoo
Comprehensive Andean Condor conservation program.
Aves de Rapina do Brasil
Species account with emphasis on Brazil.

Azevedo, Marcos Antônio Guimarães
Balza, Ulises
Escobar Gimpel, Víctor Mauricio
Hendriks, Joep
Kusch, Alejandro
Lambertucci, Sergio
Marin, Manuel
Sympson, Lorenzo
Vargas, Hernan
Wallace, Michael P.
Wiley, James

Last modified: 5/8/2014

Recommended Citation: Global Raptor Information Network. 2022. Species account: Andean Condor Vultur gryphus. Downloaded from http://www.globalraptors.org on 23 Jan. 2022

Home | Species Database | Species Accounts | Bibliography | Researchers | Related Sites | Login

Copyright © 1999-2012 The Peregrine Fund. All Rights Reserved.