The Biggest Vulture

Rhett A. Butler / mongabay.com

The Biggest Vulture: Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus)

Andean condors are huge -- the heaviest flying birds in the world weighing up to 33 pounds and measuring up to a 10-foot wingspan. Because they are so huge, the Andean condor likes to live in windy areas, where they can glide on air currents instead of flapping to get up in the air. Found in South and Central America, the Andean condor can live anywhere from oceans to deserts to mountains. They have signature black feathers and bald heads, enabling them to eat dead animals without getting dirty. Like all vultures, the Andean condor is always on the lookout for dead animal bodies, which make up their diet. Their favorite meals are large animals -- domestic or wild -- so that large numbers of birds can eat at the same carcass at once. These birds are endangered, and only an estimated 2,000 to 3,000 birds survive, but their numbers are increasing due to conservation efforts.

Bird / Vulture


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