Learn more about the amazing Andean condor
The colossal Andean condor is one of the largest birds in the world. With its wings outstretched it can reach a wingspan of more than 10 feet and its average weight is 33 pounds. Due to its large size, it needs the help of the wind to fly, and for this reason they usually live in windy areas that allow them to glide on the air currents with as little effort as possible. And although they prefer to live high up in mountainous areas (especially in the Andes), they can also be seen near the coast, where they take advantage of the sea breezes and the food that the ocean provides.
Although they are usually a dark brown – almost black – color, the feature that characterizes them is their elegant white "collar" and some white specks on the wings. Another characteristic of this majestic animal is its bald head, which resembles that of its distant cousins, the Californian condors.
Cóndor Andino (Vultur gryphus), Colca canyon
However, the main feature of the Andean condors is their height: they can measure up to 56 inches and, as mentioned above, their wingspan can reach 130 inches. While males can weigh up to 33 pounds, females are slightly smaller, with an average weight of 20 pounds.
Of the different sources of food that exist in the area, the condors favor carrion. This is why they are bald birds, as evolution has wisely given them the best characteristics to maintain good hygiene. The skin on its head is slightly red and it has a hooked beak, with sharp edges, ideal for shredding the meat they find. On the other hand, their wide, muscular legs, which have short, curved claws, are adapted to walking as well as handling carrion skillfully. Although its plumage is usually dark brown, the constant molting of feathers ends up turning it into a bluish black bird.
While males boast an imposing crest, females lack this distinguishing feature, which allows them to be told apart with a little effort. Another difference between the two sexes is the smaller size of the females.
In terms of flight style, condors boast one of the most elegant and durable styles on earth, taking advantage of the thermal air currents found in valleys, coasts and mountain ranges. Thanks to this they can stay in the air for many hours and charm tourists with their flight..
Cóndor flying. Colca canyon
The ideal habitat
Located to the northeast of the Arequipa region, about 11,800 feet above sea level, very close to the Ampato and Sabancaya volcanoes, Colca Canyon can be found, considered to be one of the deepest canyons in the world. It reaches a depth of approximately 13,600 feet. With Andean vegetation privileged by its climate, this impressive valley belongs to the province of Caylloma.
In this spectacular place you can find the Condor Cross viewpoint, where there’s nowhere better for visitors to enjoy the flight of this majestic endangered bird that lives in the canyon. With a variety of wildlife, travelers can also enjoy other members of the animal kingdom such as alpacas, vicuñas, vizcachas, foxes, pumas, eagles, hawks and owls, to name but a few. In addition, Arequipa's biodiversity is so extensive that you can see poppies, feathergrass, tolar, yareta, quinoa and other plants.
Condor Cross viewpoint