- Their hooked beak is a perfect tool for tearing rotting meat.
- Baldness is a hygienic adaptation, the bare skin of the head is easier to keep clean after feeding.
- They show clear sexual dimorphism (males and females differ in appearance), unlike other New World vulture species. Males have a comb and wattle which females lack. Males have brown irises while females have red irises.
- They change the colour of the skin on their neck and face to reflect their mood.
- Like many vultures they use urohydrosis to keep themselves cool. This lowers the body temperature through evaporation after excreting on their own legs.
- As scavengers they perform a critical role in reducing disease in their ecosystems.
Animals — Aves (birds) — Falconiformes (diurnal birds of prey) — Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
Andean Condors are a New World vulture species. They have the largest wingspan of any land bird, of around 3.2m, and weigh around 11kg.
They are relatively social birds, roosting in communal areas, and have a dominance hierarchy. The most dominant birds get the best nesting spots. They are monogamous and pairs will mate for life.
They are classified as Near Threatened due to their recent severe population decline. This was caused by habitat loss, persecution and lead poisoning.
Habitat: Mountain and coastal areas in the Andean Mountains of South America, located up to elevations of 5,500m. They prefer areas with wide open spaces which aid their detection of food. Roost and nest on cliff faces in small rock ledges or caves.
–Average weight: 11kg
–Average length: 114cm
In the wild up to: 50 years
In captivity up to: 80 years
Diet: They are scavengers, feeding mostly on carrion.
Distribution: Inhabit most of western South America in the mountains and deserts ranging from western Venezuela to Tierra del Fuego. Can also be found in Colombia, Bolivia, Ecuador, Peru, Argentina and Chile.
We are working in an area of North West Peru in the Illescas Reserve. It is home to many threatened birds, including Andean condors, sever types of vulture, and the endangered Humboldt Penguin.
The APCPP protects the beaches from human disruption, and patrols the coastline to prevent illegal fishing. We also rescue and rehabilitate penguins to be released into the wild, and set up feeding stations to ensure the survival of these species. The APCPP is solely funded by Safari Zoo Nature Foundation.