The Andean condor is a large New World vulture native to the coastal areas and mountains of western South America.
Andean condors are approximately 43-52 inches in length and have a wingspan of up to 11 feet. With a body weight of up to 33 pounds they are among the largest living flying birds. Unusual for birds of prey, females are slightly smaller than males.
The plumage is predominately black, with the wings bearing white secondary feathers; a white ruffle of feathers encircles the base of the neck. The head and neck are naked, with the male characterized by the presence of a fleshy comb on top of the head and yellow eyes; females lack the comb and have red eyes. Juvenile birds are brown in color, and do not gain adult plumage until six years of age.
Habitat and diet
Andean condors inhabit the coastal plains up into the high mountain areas of the Andes; they prefer searching for food to scavenge within grasslands, deserts, beaches, or scrub forests in which the trees are few and sparse; deeply-forested areas are rarely visited.
Carrion is the main food the birds consume, and they will fly great distances to find it. They feed generally on large dead mammals, from llamas and alpacas in the mountains to whales, dolphins, and seals on the beaches.