|Binomial name||G. californianus; V. gryphus|
Condors are two species of vulture (family Cathartidae) found in the western United States and the Andean mountains and coastal areas of South America. They are among the largest living flying birds, each about 50 inches long with wingspans in excess of 10 feet.
Of the two, the Andean condor (Vultur gryphus) is the more common. It is all-black in color with gray upper wing secondaries, a bare gray head, and in males, a fleshy wattle crest. The species ranges from the Pacific coast to to high up in the Andes, subsisting on carrion.
The California condor (Gymnogyps californianus) is slightly smaller, with white wing linings and a bare yellowish-orange head. The species formerly had an extensive range throughout the western United States, but habitat loss, slow breeding (one egg every two years) and overkill by man reduced it to 27 birds in the foothills and mountains north of Los Angeles, California by 1970. By the early 1980's with its numbers further reduced, all remaining wild condors were captured and put into a breeding program for eventual release back into the wild. By the 1990's the population had grown to 100, and many were released and monitored not only in California but in the Grand Canyon area of northern Arizona where they had not been seen in more than a century, and in Baja California where the last Mexican sighting took place in 1937.