Andean Condor Vultur gryphus

Chilean name: Cóndor

Andean Condor, Torres del Paine, Chile, December 2005 - click for larger image Torres del Paine, Chile
December 2005

The Andean Condor is distributed in the Andes from Venezuela to Tierra del Fuego. It is usually high up in the mountains but comes down to sea level in the deserts of Peru and Chile and also in the far south.

Andean Condor, Torres del Paine, Chile, December 2005 - click for larger image It is found over andean regions and grassland usually away from human habitation though I used to see a few scavenging around the ski resorts of central Chile.

They feed mainly on carrion such as guanaco, sheep and stranded whales where groups of up to 40 birds can be attracted to a large carcass.

Andean Condor, Torres del Paine, Chile, December 2005 - click for larger image They are enormous with a wing span of over 3 metres and with long "fingers" at the tips. Adults are black with a white upperwing as seen in photo 5. It also has a fluffy white collar. The male has pinkish bare flesh on the head and a large comb which you can just make out in photo 1. The female lacks the comb and has a darker head (photo 2 to 5). This makes the Andean Condor the only New World Vulture with sexual dimorphism.
Andean Condor, Torres del Paine, Chile, December 2005 - click for larger image
Andean Condor, Torres del Paine, Chile, December 2005 - click for larger image
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