Note:  Do not rely on this information. It is very old.


Condor (Sarcorhamphus gryphus), the great vulture of the Andes, the largest species of the family. Before Humboldt's time the most extraordinary stories were told of the size and strength of this bird, and to that traveller is due the credit of recording measurements which brought down the estimated wing-spread of 15 feet to 8 ft. 6 in. or 9 feet, and gave the average length of an adult male as 42 inches; the female is somewhat less. The home of the Condor is in the Andes, and Mt ranges down the west coast as far as the Straits of Magellan, on the east to the mouth of the Rio Negro. The general hue of the plumage is black, the secondary feathers and most of the wing coverts are grey. There is a white downy ruff on the neck; above this the head and neck are bare; and the male has a large fleshy comb. These birds feed on carrion, which they discover by sight rather than by smell, and their flight is remarkably powerful. According to Darwin they make no nest, but lay two large white eggs on a shelf of bare rock. The king vulture (S. papa), the only other species of the genus, is a smaller and rarer bird. The general plumage is fawn, and the head and neck are covered with orange, purple, and crimson caruncles. It is a native of the wooded parts of Central and South America, and derives its popular name from its tyrannising over the Turkey vultures (q.v.).