Scientists Tracked a Soaring Condor for 100 Miles and It Didn’t Flap Its Wings Even Once


The Andean condor (Vultur gryphus) is a South American bird but is actually the national bird of Colombia. Many people do not know about this beautiful bird, although it is characterized by its huge size, stunning plumage, and fascinating behavioral characteristics. So, we bring you some unusual facts about Andean Condor that will help you always remember whenever you talk about that bird.

Unusual Facts About the Andean Condor

  • It is the largest raptor in the world with a wingspan of over 3 meters (10 feet) and can weigh in at up to 15kg
  • They aren’t the best flyers, so this bird prefers windy areas,
  • Have a very distinctive look. Both sexes have the iconic bald head, but the males are much larger than females.
  • They live in surprising places – they can be found in coastal, in some desert areas, but the largest number can be found in Argentina and southern Chile, but their numbers are declining in Colombia, Ecuador and Venezuela.
  • Have unusual parenting They produce one egg every two years, and the incubation period is long 54-58 days. Both parents are involved in incubation and raise the chick together. Chick needs 6-8 years to reach full adulthood.
  • Andean Condors are a great clean-up crew – prefer larger animals, and along the coastline, they will clean off any smelly seal, fish or whale carcasses that have been washed up onshore.
  • Have a long life expectancy – some have been known to live up to 75 in captivity, but in the wild, they can live up to 60 years
  • They are facing extinction – placed on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species in 1973 and is in danger of becoming completely extinct in the near future

100 Miles without Flapping the Wings

Something by which the Andean condor is recognizable among the largest flying birds on the planet is the length of flight in the air, which according to observations is about 172 (100 miles) without flapping its wings. This feat was managed by a team of researchers from Swansea University in the UK.

It was of great importance for the scientists to determine the relationship between environmental conditions and the amount of effort that large birds put into their flights, which they could monitor by attaching data recorders to Andean condors. This allowed them to record every wing opening, as well as the flight paths of the birds.

According to the study, Andean condors flap their wings about 1% during their flight.

The condor has impressively durable strength, but they are able to save energy when flapping their wings.

The results of research at the Max Planck Institute for Animal Behavior suggest that for a condor it is very important when and where it should land because they need the ability to take off again later. Unnecessary landings significantly increase the condor’s total energy consumption.

Many studies link condors to extinct giant birds (which “looked more like a dragon”).

The example of this bird in the use of its wings can be a lesson for people, how they should behave in life, and not always have to work hard, but to go the easiest route.

Andean Condor in Andean Mythology

This condor in Andean mythology was associated with the sun deity, which connects it to his life in the upper world.

The Andean condor is also a symbol of nobility and strength for the cultures of South America Inca, Chibcha, and Arawak.

According to Andean culture, there are beliefs that the bones and organs of the Andean condor are healing, so this has contributed to them being the target of hunting.

The Popularity of the Andean Condor

His popularity in some countries is so great that he appears as a figure on some postage stamps (in Ecuador, Argentina, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia, Chile, and Venezuela), and he has also appeared on coins and banknotes (Colombia and Chile).

The condor is also depicted in several coats of arms of the Andean countries as a symbol of the Andean mountains.


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