Brief SummaryRead full entry
BiologyAndean condors roost on cliff faces and use thermal currents to lift off in the morning, and then spend most of the day soaring on updrafts looking for food. These birds scavenge on the remains of sheep, llama, cattle, seals and occasionally newborn animals or the eggs of sea birds. Their excellent eyesight allows them to spot a carcass from several miles away, and these birds are also known to watch the behaviour of other animals or follow smaller scavenger birds to find a carcass (7). Their sharp, curved beaks can easily tear through the flesh and hides of the toughest carcasses (7) (9). Up to 40 birds have been observed together at a single large carcass (2). The Andean condor has a long life, in excess of 50 years, but breeds very slowly (7). Sexual maturity is not attained until seven to eleven years, after which these birds, like all condors, mate for life (7). The male conducts an elaborate courtship display involving drawing the body up and fully extending the wings, as well as making loud tongue clicks, while the reddish skin of the neck becomes bright yellow (8). The female lays a single egg every other year, which both birds take turns to incubate (7) for about 54 to 58 days (8). The young take a lot of time and effort to raise, being unable to fly until they are six months old and reliant upon their parents for up to two more years (2) (7).