See These Rescuers Release a Bird as Big as They Are Back Into the Wild

Written by Sharon Parry
Published: November 29, 2023
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This clip captures the incredible moment when a magnificent condor is released back into the wild. It steps out of its crate and is at least as tall as the humans crouching behind it. At first, the bird seems unsure of its environment and spends a few seconds checking out the vicinity. Then, it stretches out its huge wings and takes to the sky. This truly is an incredible sight and very moving! We hope it went on to lead a long and happy life.

Watch the Incredible Moment Now

How Many Types of Condor Are There?

While some disagreement exists on subdivisions within the Cathartidae bird family, there are generally three condor species. These are the Andean condor (Vultur gryphus), the Californian condor (Gymnogyps californianus), and the king vulture (Sarcoramphus papa).

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How Big Is the Andean Condor?

The Andean condor is the largest living bird of prey. It’s also the largest bird on the planet that can fly. These giants inhabit most of western South America. They are found in the mountains and deserts from western Venezuela south to Tierra del Fuego. Countries where you can spot Andean condors include Columbia, Peru, and Chile.

They like to live in mountainous habitats and prefer wide open spaces where they can hunt for food. These condors roost on cliff faces, small rocky ledges, and caves. Despite their huge size, they use the rising thermals to spiral off the cliff faces and can soar for many hours without exerting much effort. They can travel as far as 200 miles daily at extremely high altitudes.

Andean condors are mainly scavengers and feed off the bodies of dead animals. However, they also hunt some live prey for themselves. This can include marmots, rabbits, and birds. When tracking, they use a chase-and-grab technique and eat the animal before it dies!

Where Is the California Condor Normally Found?

California condor flying against a cloudless blue sky

California condors are one of the fastest animals in California.

©Brian A Wolf/

As their name suggests, Californian condors are found in California! You can spot them in areas such as the Big Sur coast or Pinnacles National Monument. They are also found in Southern California and around the Grand Canyon. Historically, they were found throughout North America. The numbers have drastically reduced since the 1800s and have slowly recovered. This is partly because of their prolonged reproduction rate. Female Californian condors only have one egg in each breeding season and do not breed yearly. Young condors take a while to perfect their flying technique and endure several crash landings before they get the hang of it!

The photo featured at the top of this post is © Danita Delimont/

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About the Author

Dr Sharon Parry is a writer at A-Z animals where her primary focus is on dogs, animal behavior, and research. Sharon holds a PhD from Leeds University, UK which she earned in 1998 and has been working as a science writer for the last 15 years. A resident of Wales, UK, Sharon loves taking care of her spaniel named Dexter and hiking around coastlines and mountains.

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