Andean condors usually nest on inaccessible cliffs 16,000 feet above sea level so it’s a real treat to see a pair nesting on camera at the National Aviary. The condor pair, Lianni and Lurch, expect their egg to hatch June 6-9.
Native to the Andes and nearby Pacific coast, Andean condors (Vultur gryphus) are the world’s largest flying bird. Their 10+ foot wingspan allows them to ride thermals in search of the carcasses of large animals that they scavenge. The condors are so majestic that they’re the national bird of Bolivia, Colombia, Chile and Ecuador and a national symbol throughout the Andean states.
Because the adults have no natural predators Andean condors have evolved to live long a long time (more than 70 years!) and reproduce slowly (only one egg every 1.5 to 2 years).
Unfortunately, due to habitat loss and secondary poisoning from hunted animals, the species is threatened in the wild and critically endangered in Ecuador. Zoos worldwide are participating in an Andean condor breeding program. Lianni and Lurch’s chick will increase the wild condor population.
Watch the condors’ nest on the National Aviary Condor Cam. The link includes a video of Lianni laying her egg.
Stay tuned June 6-9 when the condors’ egg is due to hatch.
(photo courtesy the National Aviary)