California Condors range in length from 117 to 134 cm (46 to 53 in.). Their wingspan averages 275 cm (9 ft.). They generally weigh about 10 kg (22 lb.).
These birds depend on the carcasses of large mammals for food. With the expansion of settlement in the mid-1800s, its food supply was reduced and the principal source of carrion became domestic livestock.
The California Condor was probably never numerous, and its populations were eventually almost exterminated in the wild by hunting, food shortage, pollution, the poisoning of carcasses in predator control, and a naturally low reproductive rate. In 1987, the last few remaining wild condors were captured and placed in a captive breeding programme. The programme reintroduced condors into parts of California and Arizona in the United States. As of 2002, however, these wild birds had not yet succeeded in producing young that survived to breeding age.
There are two species of condor: the California Condor (Gymnogyps californianus) is found in North America, while the Andean Condor (Vultur gryphus) is found in South America.