Monday, February 17, 2014

Creature Feature #122: Condor

The Condor is a very large scavenging bird - the wingspan of this Andean Condor measuring up to 3.5 m. A member of the Family of New World Vultures, this carrion-eater is characterised by his naked heads. The lack of feathers make it easier for him to keep clean while eating. It also makes him prone to dehydration and sunburn. To communicate emotions, the Condor can actually blush. These birds are very long-lived - up to 75 years - and do not reach maturity until they are 6 or 7. He is a slow breeder, only producing one offspring every two years. The Californian Condor came very close to extinction in 1987, when all the remaining birds (22 in total) were captured for a captive breeding program. Condors are at risk from poaching and habitat destruction, as well as lead-poisoning.

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