The California condor is a New World vulture, and the largest North American land bird. It is one of the world’s longest-living birds, with a lifespan of up to 60 years. Condor numbers dramatically declined in the 20th century due to poaching, lead poisoning, and habitat destruction. As of 2019 there are 518 California condors living wild or in captivity.
About California condor in brief
The California condor is a New World vulture, and the largest North American land bird. It is one of the world’s longest-living birds, with a lifespan of up to 60 years. Condor numbers dramatically declined in the 20th century due to poaching, lead poisoning, and habitat destruction. It became extinct in the wild in 1987, but has since been reintroduced to northern Arizona and southern Utah. As of 2019 there are 518 California condors living wild or in captivity. The species is listed by the IUCN as critically endangered. It was originally classified in the same genus as the Andean condor, but due to its slightly different markings, slightly longer wings, and tendency to kill small animals to eat, it has now been placed in its own monotypic genus, Gymnogyps. The condor was described by English naturalist George Shaw in 1797 as Vultur californianus; Archibald Menzies collected the type specimen \”from the coast of California\” during the Vancouver expedition. The word condor itself is derived from the Quechua word kuntur. The exact taxonomic placement of the California condor and the other six species of New world vultures remains unclear. The genus Gymngyps is an example of a relict distribution. During the Pleistocene epoch, this genus was widespread across the Americas. However, there is a palosubspecies that is sometimes regarded as a paloosub species. It may even have been derived from a founder population of the species.
The only surviving member of Gymnogryps is the sole member of the Gymnogsryps ampeosplus ampeo. It has been described as either a chronospecies or a separate species over much of the Late Pleastocene period. The last known sighting of this species was in Cuba in the late 1960s. A condor found in Cuba was initially described as Antillovultus varonai but has been recognized as another member of Gymnogaryps varonianus ampeonai. It’s unclear how how the two species are related. Some earlier authorities suggest that the New World Vultures are more closely related to storks, or place them in their own order, Cathartiformes. More recent authorities maintain their overall position in the order Falconiformes along with the Old World vulture. The South American Classification Committee has removed the New. World vULTures from Ciconiiformes and instead placed them in Incertae sedis, but notes that a move to Falconiforms or Cathartsiformes is possible. The New World. vultured evolved from a different ancestor in a different part of the. world. The species was first discovered in the early 1800s in the coastal mountains of central and southern California, and northern Baja California. Its 3. 0 m wingspan is the widest of any North American bird, and its weight of 12 kg nearly equals that of the trumpeter swan.