Family New World Vultures (Cathartidae)

Critically Endangered

California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus)


French: Condor de Californie German: Kalifornischer Kondor Spanish: Cóndor californiano

Vultur californianus


, 1797,

Monterey, California, USA


In the past placed in genus Pseudogryphus. Monotypic.


Extinct in wild from 1987 to 1992. Since then, captive population used for reintroduction to former range, first in hills around San Joaquin Valley, California; subsequent reintroductions in N Arizona and in extreme NW Mexico (N Baja California). Formerly occupied mountains of almost entire Pacific coast of North America.

Descriptive notes

109–134 cm; 8000–14,000 g; wingspan 249–300 cm. Black plumage, with white underwing-coverts. Long ruff feathers also black. Head and neck bare with variable... read more


Mostly silent. Occasional grunts, growls, hisses and snarling sounds during feeding or in... read more


Within recent times range restricted to remote, irregularly wooded hills N of Los Angeles, in ... read more

Food and feeding

Diet carrion, almost exclusively of large mammals. Californian ground-squirrels (Spermophilus beecheyi) also taken, even in large... read more


Lays Feb–May. Nest-site usually in caves or large trees; no nest construction. Two nests in Sierra Nevada (California) were in ... read more


Non-migratory, but original wild population possessed large home ranges, and individuals documented... read more

Status and conservation

CRITICALLY ENDANGERED. CITES I and II. Very rare; one of the most seriously threatened of all bird species. Although now increasing gradually, the tiny wild population... read more

Recommended citation

Houston, D., Kirwan, G.M., Christie, D.A. & Sharpe, C.J. (2020). California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 4 April 2020).