Aug 30, 2007

Vultur Gryphus

Here's one of my favorite vultures: the Andean Condor (vultur gryphus). These New World carrion-eaters nearly became extinct due to aggressive hunting. But they are making a dramatic comeback due to equally aggressive conservation and captive-breeding efforts.

They can have a wingspan of ten feet and live for fifty years. This particular bird looks to be a male, given the waddle and fine-looking flesh crest above his beak. The folds and ridges on his head make me wonder if there is any Klingon in his ancestry. I wouldn't put breeding with a carrion-eater past a Klingon.

Photo source: Frank Wouters

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Doesn't decaying carrion get stuck under those skin flaps and get funky? Seems like flaps are a bad idea to me. Also: why is anyone hunting vultures? I know the California Condor had some DDT problems, but wasn't aware of people killing them.

kookyknut said...

What a stunning creature.

pkeli said...

A couple of years ago I went on a hiking trip in the Patagonia region of Chile and we saw these condors every day. One of the highlights of the trip--so incredible. They looked like small airplanes circling above. I just wish I could have seen them up close. Of course that might have meant they thought I was on my last leg and was soon to be a menu item...

Denita TwoDragons said...

*tacitly avoids mentioning fantasy movie with large purple crystal...*

;-)

--TwoDragons

Kritter said...

People hunt them because they believe the condors take livestock (lambs etc.) and because it's "fun" to shoot at something big and watch it fall out of the sky. Condors were never food items here in the US; I don't know about South America.

ColbyWolf said...

Heeeey... Klingons are kinda cute.... :D

Arachnophile said...

Your restraint is admirable Denita. :p

I've never seen such a close-up of one of these guys before. His head looks like it would feel like a fuzzy peach, though I'd not try to rub it with out his permission. ;)

Fabulous creature and one of the few true giants of the sky! So COOL.