Talk:California condor

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Size of California Condor[edit]

The article states that California Condors "areoutweighed only by the Trumpeter Swan (Cygnus buccinator, up to 17.2 kg/38 lb), and Mute Swan (Cygnus olor, up to at least 14.3 kg/31½ lb. generally heavier than C. buccinator), an introduced species." Turkeys can also outweigh California Condors. Wild turkeys can weigh up to 25 pounds, while domesticated turkeys have been bred up to 85 pounds. PubliusFL 15:57, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

Only wild birds count, and the Wild Turkey has a documented maximum of 10.8 kg (23 lb 13 oz) [1]. Just comparison is complicated, however, as the data for the Condor is largely based on captive specimens (note that there's a difference between captive and domesticated birds). Indeed, I've seen stated in a source or two that the heaviest wild California Condor weighed 10.4 kg (23 lb) – although the data must be extremely limited. But on average the Condor is clearly heavier: Ferguson-Lees et al. (2001) puts its range at 8.2–14.1 kg (18–31 lb), whereas the Turkey – owing much to sexual dimorphism – is more variable in size, 2.5–10.8 kg (5 lb 8 oz–23 lb 13 oz) according to the link I gave earlier (the same website has the Condor at a mere 7.0–9.9 kg/15 lb 7 oz–21 lb 13 oz [2], yet still suggesting a higher average than the Turkey). Note that while usually regarded as the world's second largest bird of prey (next to the Andean Condor), a maximum of 10.4 kg would have it outweighed by several Old World species: the Cinereous Vulture (up to 12.5 kg/27 lb 8 oz), Himalayan Griffon (12 kg/26 lb 7 oz), Eurasian Griffon (11.25 kg/24 lb 13 oz), Cape Griffon (10.9 kg/24 lb) and Lappet-faced Vulture (13.9 kg/30 lb 10 oz, captive specimen). --Anshelm '77 23:43, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

According to my ass the CRC Handbook of Avian Body Masses-Second edition, here is the comparison between Wild Turkey and California Condor:
Wild Turkey : 140 males averaging 7.8 kg, range: 6.1–10.4 kg, 182 females averag. 4.3 kg, range: 3.2–6.5 kg
California Condor: 13 males averaging 8.8 kg , range: 7.9–9.9 kg, 15 females averag. 8.1 kg, range: 7–8.9 kg.
For those old world vulture species you mentioned, here are the averages; Eurasian Griffon: 7.44 kg, Cape Griffon: 8.18 kg, Lappet-faced Vulture: 6.97 kg. No average weight given for the Cinereous and the Himalayan Vultures, just ranges: 7–12.5 kg, and 8–12 kg respectively. These two in my opinion definetley larger than the California Condor. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Nzoltan1981 (talkcontribs) 11:58, 12 March 2008 (UTC) tell me y i had 7to sleeep


this is easily a B class article and possibly a GA candidate. Priority is high given its conservation status and national identity of species. Anlace 05:51, 23 October 2006 (UTC)

Rarity ranking[edit]

"The California Condor is currently the world's rarest bird of prey." I can think of a more deserving candidate for the title, namely the White-collared Kite Leptodon forbesi [3]. Also, the Cuban Kite Chondrohierax wilsonii [4], Ridgway's Hawk Buteo ridgwayi[5], Madagascar Fish-eagle Haliaeetus vociferoides [6] and Philippine Eagle Pithecophaga jefferyi [7] have been assigned by BirdLife International with smaller numbers than the California Condor population given here; however, these represent the number of the breeding population (i.e. adults), making them in truth more numerous than the condor, which has a breeding population of 44 (as of January 2006) [8]. --Anshelm '77 22:47, 15 May 2007 (UTC)

The California Condor can eat up to 21 lbs a day! Often supplying the food for their baby birds. This is one incrediable creature. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:17, 17 May 2008 (UTC)

Comments from quick review[edit]

A very interesting article, the product of a lot of work! However, if you want it to be a GA, everything's got to have a reference.

The section on fossils is the least relevant (as it deals with other taxa), and in my opinion should go at the end. Possibly it should be called "Evolution"; definitely not "Taxonomy".

The paragraph on claws needs to be revised in light of the uncertain taxonomic position of the Cathartidae. It's disappointing to some of us for the New World vultures not to be definite relatives of the storks, but it seems to be the current thinking. —JerryFriedman 22:03, 11 August 2007 (UTC)


It looks like the plan is to make the footnotes to Harvard references and have a list of cited works. An example that might help is at Aplomado Falcon (though you don't have to use the caps and small caps). Thus the footnotes to Nielson should look like "Nielson 2006, p. 58"—no title, no publisher. It's an interesting question whether you should use the same method to footnote sources referred to only once, as at Aplomado Falcon, or footnote them to full references. Yet another method, by the way, is to have the first footnote to Nielson be complete and the rest be to "Nielson op. cit., p. whatever". —JerryFriedman 22:36, 12 August 2007 (UTC)

Looks much better. The next thing, in my opinion, is to put the Web references into the same format. I did one useing the cite web template. They could be in some other standard form, but it gives you an idea. —JerryFriedman 21:48, 13 August 2007 (UTC)

Getting there[edit]

Well done so far - compare with Common Raven and see what you think. I've started with some mundane MOS stuff. I'll give more of a copyedit later. cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 09:04, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

OK, see how Taxonomy and evolution section - as classification, latin name and evolution are all intertwined. Many other articles such as Humpback Whale have as well. cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 09:08, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
The adult California Condor is a uniform black, with the exception of a frill of black feathers.. - umm..not sure but saying something's all black except for black....? cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 09:17, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
I think that it means that the feathers are flat except for the frill of feathers at the base of the neck. If you can think of a better way to phrase it, go ahead and change it. Rufous-crowned Sparrow 14:53, 22 August 2007 (UTC)
In general, it's a good idea to finalise content before getting stuck into copyediting; I can't see anything else the article is lacking off hand apart from a taxonomy section. Some bits doo look a bit sparse on refs so I'll pop in a couple of fact tags. If I'm wrong just remove them cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 09:27, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

OK - I made a taxo section - in it can go alternate scientific names, common names, classification issues (touch on stork v raptor etc. as fascinating), then evolution bit as subsection. cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 10:18, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

Allright, I'm going to work on tracking those sources down and merging evolution into the taxonomy section. Casliber, thanks for your help. Rufous-crowned Sparrow 14:53, 22 August 2007 (UTC)

OK, I've slung in a couple of paras on placement -now need to stick in the refs and why (eg DNA etc.) - briefly. Also need osmething on origin of common name Condor - I'll look into this cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 09:00, 25 August 2007 (UTC)

Range Map[edit]

Does anyone know how to make a range map? I've noticed that other articles have them, and the condor article could benefit from one. I'd make it myself, but have no idea how. Thanks. Rufous-crowned Sparrow 19:00, 24 August 2007 (UTC)

Would be great - not sure who did it for American Goldfinch. cheers, Casliber (talk · contribs) 08:52, 25 August 2007 (UTC)
User:Ken Thomas did the range map for American Goldfinch. see File:American Goldfinch-rangemap.gif and File:American_Goldfinch-rangemap.gif on Wikimedia Commons. Maybe someone can ask him to make a range map for California Condor. --- (talk) 03:42, 6 February 2008 (UTC)

To Do List[edit]

Here's what I think needs to be done before it goes for FA:

That one citation for cattle ranchers protesting the Grand Canyon
Range Map

Feel free to add on to the list and if anyone knows how to make a range map, please either make one or tell me. Thanks. Rufous-crowned Sparrow 13:41, 27 August 2007 (UTC)

As with any scientific topic, metric measures need to go first, with imperial second in brackets (if necessary at all) - MPF 08:45, 2 September 2007 (UTC)

Is the range highlighted on the range map correct? Condors have been roosting near Kanab Utah. And rangers at Bryce nat. park (Utah) and Zion nat. park (Utah)have made sightings.gmur —Preceding unsigned comment added by Gmur (talkcontribs) 05:44, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

From what I've read, the Utah sightings are still pretty infrequent and are the result of birds wandering from the Vermillion Cliffs site. As they are infrequent and are not the typical range of the bird, they don't appear on the range map; however, if visitations become more frequent, ie. nestings, then the range map should be updated. Thanks. Rufous-crowned Sparrow (talk) 01:26, 18 January 2008 (UTC)


The Ecology and behavior section is a little confusing:

It says:

"Condors also do not have any vocal cords, so their vocal display is limited to grunts and hisses.[26]"

...but then...

"...competition to determine a pecking order decided by...a wide variety of vocalizations."

Either one of these is wrong or some further explanation is needed! SteveBaker 20:22, 10 September 2007 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Thanks for pointing that out. Rufous-crowned Sparrow 23:42, 10 September 2007 (UTC)


Great work here people. If you think it helps the FA chances, I have uploaded a higher resolution and slightly different crop version of my condor photo currently used in the article. It is File:California-Condor3-Szmurlo.jpg.It's not materially different but feel free to use at your discretion.Cszmurlo 02:33, 11 September 2007 (UTC)

Bird of Prey?[edit]

I'm no ornithologist, but are scavengers birds of prey? The article describes them as carrion eaters, while contributers maintain that it is a bird of prey. INTUNEevolution 02:55, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

There is a lot of debate over what exactly New World Vultures are. For a time, they were considered to be in the same order as all of the birds of prey, and therefore a lot of references, particularly books, include them with the birds of prey and compare them to other birds of prey. Their final placement is still undecided, but being in the birds of prey order is still a possibility. However, generally speaking vultures are currently considered to be separate from the group "birds of prey". Rufous-crowned Sparrow 21:08, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

Category problem[edit]

It seems strange to have a featured article using a red linked Category. I am going to change the category from Category:Birds of Western United States to Category:Native birds of the Southwestern United States hoping that it is a correct category. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Dbiel (talkcontribs) 02:25, 4 December 2007 (UTC)

Genetic viability?[edit]

Anyone know enough to explain how condors can survive genetically if there were only 22? -- Jeandré, 2007-12-04t20:05z

Well, the Black Robin has rebounded from only 5 individuals (1 female!) and is now at about 250, and doesn't seem to be having any genetic problems so far. That's an unusual case, though, and the condor may well have such problems in the future. Hopefully, if it does, by then we'll be able to fix those problems. Vultur (talk) 18:31, 27 January 2008 (UTC)
I was chatting with some co-workers about it today at the Raptor Center at the University of Minnesota, and, the 22 surviving Condors were only of four bloodlines. This means that they have a relatively small genetic pool to draw from. So, eventually, they will start to suffer genetic issues, and, will probably die out. There is a chance that some new mutation may occur in the population, creating a new species of sorts. However, this chance is slim to none, as this usually occurs over thousands of years. The California Condor probably doesn't have that long. Just start hoping that humanity can come to the rescue one more time! -Gadriel Amileth (April 11, 2008) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:47, 12 April 2008 (UTC)


is there any way that the current population can be included in the info box? I don't know the markup very well. -MBlume (talk) 23:05, 4 December 2007 (UTC)


Why is a photo called condorchick described as the head of an adult condor? (talk) 05:36, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

The photo title misidentified the age of the bird. See the discussion here; a move to a more appropriate title has been requested. MeegsC | Talk 08:53, 17 December 2007 (UTC)

Extreme POV[edit]

This article is so biased as to be totally inaccurate. It completely ignores that humans are the sole reason that Condors are nearly extinct. I demand that it be fixed. - (talk) 01:47, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

Umm, have you read the conservation section, with lines like "Significant damage to the condor population is also attributed to poaching, especially for museum specimens,[34] lead poisoning (from eating animals containing lead shot), DDT poisoning,[35] electric power lines, egg collecting, and habitat destruction. "? Rufous-crowned Sparrow (talk) 02:55, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
I demand that you all send me $20. Ken Thomas (talk) 03:38, 31 March 2008 (UTC)
You may not be aware, but Wikipedia is designed to be edited by anyone. If you can make a better article please do so. Just make sure that anything you add is properly referenced, and that anything you remove genuinely does not belong in the article (otherwise it would be you adding the POV to the article). If you do that you should be fine, but if you make a mess of the article expect it to be quickly reverted. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mantisia (talkcontribs) 14:12, 31 March 2008 (UTC)

The article states that they were killed for their feathers to create ceremonial cloaks for a shaman, and another cloak had to be made whenever a shaman died. Sounds like they were hunted pretty regularly for an extended period of time, and the article states that this may be a possible cause for their decline. I do see something that seems inaccurate or unprovable, as well as POV - "If so, this would be the only known species that was endangered by the California natives." I can't confirm that this is what the cite actually says, and it sounds like an attempt to downplay the role Amerindians have had in the Holocene Extinction. Perhaps if the wording was changed to say "the only known surviving species" because California natives certainly contributed to the extinction of many extinct megafauna. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:55, 4 May 2010 (UTC)

California Wildfires[edit]

Local news in Monterey County reports that the The Indians and Basin Complex fires in the Los Padres National Forest have endangered the lives of some 50 of the condors. I can't seem to find much to back this up, but if anyone can find information that comes from a conservation society on this, it might be relevant to the article, seeing as how there are already so few birds in existence as it is. (talk) 13:06, 29 June 2008 (UTC)

Here's a local ABC link... [9]

Requested automated peer review.[edit]

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You may wish to browse through User:AndyZ/Suggestions for further ideas. Thanks, Hfarmer (talk) 12:33, 21 December 2008 (UTC) This is in regards to the "citation needed" in relation of "Inyaa" the 2 nd Condor Chick born in Baja California the sorce of the information is Dr. Baltazar Macias;a Mexican Veterinaryan and enviromentalist. member of several NGO an enviromental activist. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:59, 17 December 2009 (UTC)

Johnny Cash[edit]

Johnny Cash actually killed 49 California Condors, which was about half of the entire species at the time. Should we put that in there? MaraquanWocky (talk) 01:50, 2 October 2010 (UTC)

Johny Cash was responsible for a fire that burned condor habitat but I can find no credible claim that any condors were killed. Rsduhamel (talk) 21:16, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

Fix Number in Existence?[edit]

RE: "As of April 2011, there are 394 condors known to be living, including 181 in the wild.[2]" According to the Ventana Wildlife Society, there are 360 in existence (~60 in the wild and 399 living through out the US in captive breeding programs). This is a fairly significantly difference. Can anyone find a third source that would verify the one being used now or the one I linked? --Lacarids (talk) 02:09, 6 September 2011 (UTC)


Plight of the Condors; Once on the verge of extinction, North America's largest land birds have made a dramatic comeback. To ensure their continued survival, biologists are relying on high-tech gadgets and unusual interventions by Jane Braxton Little SciAm January 5, 2012 (talk) 01:29, 4 January 2012 (UTC)


I noticed a discrepancy on the lifespan listed in the article. In the summary it states that the lifespan is 60 years citing the second reference, a CNN article. However in the Ecology and Behavior section is states only 50 years with no reference. I found an article on the US Fish and Wildlife Services website that states the lifespan isn't expected to be more then 40 years in the wild and the oldest known condor was 71. It also states that the lifespan isn't known for the California Condor. The article is here:

I've never edited an article and I'm not sure that this warrents an edit or not. Can anyone help to fix this? Thanks. — Preceding unsigned comment added by LordCurzon (talkcontribs) 21:46, 2 March 2012 (UTC)

After poking around a bit and finding nothing recent and definitive-looking, I've changed 50 years to 60, citing both the CNN and the San Diego Zoo refs. Understandably, there's uncertainty about the maximum age of many species, including this one, and some sources suggest the figure may be lower. (The 71-year figure you mention is for the South American species.) Anyway, thanks for pointing out the discrepancy, and welcome aboard! Rivertorch (talk) 07:33, 3 March 2012 (UTC)


The article list the places where the condor has been reintroduced as if this were their natural range. I'm adding that they were shortly extinct in the wild and then reintroduced into the current range. Rsduhamel (talk) 20:47, 30 May 2013 (UTC)

Condor Watch[edit]

Added a paragraph on the crowdsourcing project 'Condor Watch' to the California Condor Recovery Plan section. Condor Watch asks volunteers to examine motion-capture images from the Pinnacles National Park, in northern California, of California Condors. It is part of the Zooniverse set of projects and is a worthy addition to this article. It has two refs, one of which is to the website itself. The website is advert-free and encourages citizen scientists to take an active part in research and conservation. Richard Nowell (talk) 18:25, 19 August 2014 (UTC)

Removed self-reference and added web refs from Science Daily and These are essentially the same as the original Santa Cruz Uni release, but the new refs also have more content.Richard Nowell (talk) 21:02, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Added Condor watch External link. There are a lot of External Links! Wiki likes only 2 though. Wikipedia:ELMINOFFICIAL#Minimize_the_number_of_links No obvious solution here though as all links important. Just a thought... Richard Nowell (talk) 21:21, 19 August 2014 (UTC)
Expanded CW paragraphs to include examples of Citizen Science and ornithology. Deleted ref as no longer needed. I would like CW to have its own little mini-section in the future to explore the project more fully, but realise this might not be what the article needs. I think it does though! Richard Nowell (talk) 08:58, 21 August 2014 (UTC)
The Condor Watch section has grown to 3 paragraphs (longer than some articles). If no-one minds, I think it would be better to keep it within this article as that gives the subject more relevance and greater readership. Have added some statistics to show its progress i.e. ~8,600 volunteers have taken part.Richard Nowell (talk) 13:27, 7 December 2014 (UTC)

Evolutionary History[edit]

This section needs careful attention by someone with the appropriate professional knowledge, as it contains conflicting information. I've tidied the refs as best I can, as they were in need of it. Is there some contention about the exact evolutionary history that can be settle? Richard Nowell (talk) 10:11, 28 August 2014 (UTC)

22 vs 27 captive individuals[edit]

Note on the question of whether the captive population in 1987 was 22 or 27 (re these two recent diffs: [10], [11]): I checked the JAvMS reference (vol 23.2 (2009), pp 145-150), and the statement there is that in the 1980s, the "remaining population of 22 individuals" was removed into captivity. This does not contradict the statement that the resulting total was 27, as given by the currently used reference. Thus I suggest the current reading (27) and ref (USFWS) is correct and suitable. -- Elmidae (talk · contribs) 14:49, 2 July 2016 (UTC)

Thank you, Elmidae. Do you think it would be helpful to place a note (hidden text or otherwise)? Rivertorch's Evil Twin (talk) 16:21, 2 July 2016 (UTC)
Sure, why not. I'll place a hidden link to this. -- Elmidae (talk · contribs) 17:24, 2 July 2016 (UTC)