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The California condor and its vital role
The California condor is the largest land bird in North America and once dominated the western skies. Unfortunately, the species decreased for much of the twentieth century until only drastic measures saved it from extinction. The population of Condores de California reached only 22 individuals in the world in the late 1970s. The last free flight condors group was taken to captivity in 1987 to save the species. The efforts to reintroduce the condors began in 1992 and continue until now. Morphology and Habitat of the California Condor.
Individuals of this great American vulture usually have between 46 and 55 inches length from the head to the tail. While there is some sexual dimorphism, the difference in size is minimal being the most large male than the female. The extension of an adult’s wings of this species can reach about 3 meters. They are black with white spots and a bald head with very few feathers. The color of the head varies from white to orange and reddish purple. The bare head of the California condor is an adaptation for hygiene, since they eat dead and rotten meat. Most of the time they must put their heads inside the bodies to feed.
The condors live in rocky and wooded regions that include cannons and mountains. They can be found in the deserts of southern California Central. Permanent rest sites must have rocky cliffs and debris to nest. Eating habits: the California condor has a very little appetizing diet for humans, but it is vital for the natural ecosystem. These animals are part of the nature cleaning team. They play a vital role in the safe elimination of dead animals. A healthy population of such carrion dining rooms.
It can have an important impact on the elimination of sick or decomposed animals. The condors consume carrion preferring the bodies of large animals such as deer, cattle and sheep. However, they also feed on animals like rabbits and squirrels. Condors prefer fresh bodies although they also ingest animals with high levels of decomposition when necessary. The condors can fly about 20 kilometers a day in search of food. They find their food thanks to their visual acuity. Adult individuals require up to a kilo and a half of meat per day, although some can consume up to three kilos daily.
Conservation status: The California condor is in extinction period. After several years of a successful captive breeding program in Los Angeles and San Diego, some individuals have been reintroduced since the 90s. Since then, more than 120 individuals are reintroduced to wildlife, but the mortality rate is high. The wild socialization of bird -raised birds has been difficult. The preservation of the species in captivity has continued with a long -term continuous reproduction plan. The exact causes of the rapid decline of California condors in the last decade are uncertain.
Factors that contribute to the decrease in species include poisoning, chemical pollution, habitat loss and food resources. The consumption of poisoned bait meat taken by the rancheros and destined for the coyotes as well as the lead poisoning of the bullets in animals killed by the ranchers, has been the cause reported of some deaths of the condors. Reproduction habits: the average life of the California condor is around 37 years in captivity and 45 in the wild. However, the reproductive stage begins at 6 years of age in the youngest.
Upon reaching their full maturity, males make a courtship with the wings deployed and head movements. After the female accepts the proposal of the male, they form monogamous couples for life. They put a single egg every two years. The incubation period is approximately 56 days. Eggs hatch between February and April. The nests are found in caves next to the cliff or between rocky outcrops and clefts. Both parents take care of the egg until the birth of the breeding and it remains with them up to a year before leaving the nest.