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Definition: condor from Collins English Dictionary


1 either of two very large rare New World vultures, Vultur gryphus (Andean condor), which has black plumage with white around the neck, and Gymnogyps californianus (California condor), which is similar but nearly extinct

[C17: from Spanish cóndor, from Quechuan kuntur]

Summary Article: condor
From The Hutchinson Unabridged Encyclopedia with Atlas and Weather Guide

Name given to two species of birds in separate genera. The Andean condorVultur gryphus, has a wingspan up to 3 m/10 ft, weighs up to 13 kg/28 lb, and can reach up to 1.2 m/3.8 ft in length. It is black, with some white on the wings and a white frill at the base of the neck. It lives in the Andes at heights of up to 4,500 m/14,760 ft, and along the South American coast, and feeds mainly on carrion. The Californian condorGymnogyps californianus is a similar bird, with a wingspan of about 3 m/10 ft. It feeds entirely on carrion, and is on the verge of extinction.

The Californian condor lays only one egg at a time and may not breed every year. In 1994, only 89 Californian condors remained, of which only four were in the wild. It became the subject of a special conservation effort, and by July 1995 the number had increased to 104.

Nine California condors will be released in Arizona by the end of 1998. This will bring the total to 24 released since 1996 in the state, where it had been 72 years since the last condor was sighted there. The new birds will be freed on property of the US Bureau of Land Management that is on the Utah border near the Grand Canyon. The ongoing programme to return caged condors to the wild is an effort to save them from extinction.




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