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California Condor

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California CondorLegal Status: Federal Endangered Species / California Endangered Species

Range: Los Padres National Forest in California and the Grand Canyon National Park in Arizona; all re-introduced from captive breeding program
Habitat: Arid foothills and mountain
Size: Approximately 45 to 55 inches long; 9- to 10-foot wingspan

The California condor, the largest flying bird in North America, can weigh up to 24 lbs. when fully grown. Strictly carrion feeders, they scavenge for large animal carcasses like deer and cattle. Condors do not build nests, but lay their eggs in caves or rock crevices in high cliffs. It takes 2 years to raise a single chick and 5 to 6 years for a condor to reach sexual maturity. Indiscriminate shooting, poisoning, specimen and egg collection, and loss of habitat brought these birds to the brink of extinction.

General Protection Measures:

  • Prohibit any activity near active nesting sites during the breeding season (mid-January to October).
  • Define and respect clear work area limits.
  • Do not disturb, capture, handle, or move birds.
  • Report all dead or injured birds to the proper authorities immediately.
  • Do not litter.
  • Implement project-specific measures as required by state and federal agencies.

California condors and their habitat are protected by both the Federal and California Endangered Species Acts. Consult with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Department of Fish and Game before performing any work in habitat for this protected species. Penalties for harming or harassing these birds can include up to $100,000 in fines and/or one year in jail.


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