Nov 26, 2008

Super Commuter

The Andean Condor is second only to the California Condor in the weight and size category for New World birds. A full-sized male stands around 4 feet tall, has a wingspan of almost 10 feet, and weighs 20 - 30 lbs. Interestingly enough, it is vultures in the Old World that top the list of largest birds. There must be something to carrion-dining that allows for large sizes.

Photo source: Kevin Law



















The Andean Condor, like other New World vultures, are more closely related to storks than they are to Old World vultures, who are related to birds of prey. Also, whereas their African and European cousins tend to rely on eyesight (look into those eyes) to find their food, the New World vultures tend to rely on smell.

The Andean is something of a super commuter. They'll travel upwards of 150 miles a day in search of fetid carcasses. But these birds do it with class; they've got the whole 'black cape with snowy cowl' thing going on, not to mention the comb and waddle. Fancy, uppity bird.

Photo source: Anne Elliott

11 comments:

Denita TwoDragons said...

"They'll travel upwards of 150 miles a day in search of fetid carcasses."

But he'll go twice as far for Gelfling essence...

--Twodragons

Raging Wombat said...

Though, the'll settle for Podling brain juice if that's all they can find. Skeksis love the brain juice.

niner said...

You guys crack me up. Thought I read another post referencing the Skeksis. Nerd alert: when I first started playing WarCraft Online I *knew* I heard "skettis" in reference to bird people somewhere before. Ahhh the memories.

This is a cute guy but vultures are prettier.

falnfenix said...

ohhh Skeksis. <3

Anonymous said...

Note to self: Never die in the Andes.

Anonymous said...

I feel both relieved and a little uneasy that I'm not the only person who immediately thought "skeksis" when I saw this thing.

morgan said...

"Mine... MINE! I am still... aliiiiiiive!" *crumbles into dust*

Denita TwoDragons said...

Aw yeah! Feeling the Hensonian luv! This is why I enjoy hanging out here. I can get my nerd on and not feel self-conscious! :-D

*gallops off on Landstrider into the triple sunset...*

--TwoDragons

Yadira said...

The Andean condor is just slightly larger than the California condor. The Calif condor has a 9 1/2 foot wingspan versus 10 for the Andean and weighs in at up to 31 pounds while the Andean weighs up to 33 pounds. The female Andean condor can be smaller than its Californian cousin and is visually different than her male counterpart, unlike the California species in which both the males and females look exactly the same.

Raging Wombat said...

Thanks for the info, Yadira.

Nonexistant Black Feather said...

anyone up for some air burial? I had no idea that some cultures disposed of their bodies in this way.